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Marine  <Bio\OQica\  Laboratory  Library 





<Thtladelphia  architect,  ncpherf  of 
^horna!  (Harrison  Montgomery  U$73'I912), 
<MBL  tm'esttQdtor,  and  Vntctlla  Wraislin 
CMontgomcry  (1874-1956),  MBl  librarian. 

(jjft  oj  ihtirsms  jfugh  Montgomery  MfD. 
and  fyumond  <B.  Montgomery  — 1987. 



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NEW    YOEK  : 


COPYRIGHT,  1889,  BY 

Press  of  J.  J.  Little  &  Co., 
Astor  Place,  New  York. 


GEORGE    C.    TAYLOR,  Esq., 

OF    NEW    YORK. 

To  you,  my  dear  Taylor,  icho,  like  nn/self,  have  travelled  over  man;/ 
lands,  and  led  the  same  adventurous  life  in  days  gone  by,  I  drdit-ufi' 
'•  The  Viking  Age''  in  remembrance  of  years  of  friendship,  cf  tin- 
many  pleasant  days  we  have  spent  together,  and  especially  of  our 
wanderings  in  the  Land  of  the  Midnight  Sun,  in  the  home  of  the  old 
Vikings,  while  I  was  engaged  on  the  present  work, 

P.   B.  DU  CHAILLU. 
NEW  YORK,  September,  1889. 


WHILE  studying  the  progress  made  in  the  colonisation  of 
different  parts  of  the  world  by  European  nations,  I  have 
often  asked  myself  the  following  questions  :— 

How  is  it  that  over  every  region  of  the  globe  the  spread  of 
the  English-speaking  people  and  of  their  language  far  exceeds 
that  of  all  the  other  European  nations  combined  ? 

Why  is  it  that,  wherever  the  English-speaking  people  have 
settled,  or  are  at  this  day  found,  even  in  small  numbers,  they 
are  far  more  energetic,  daring,  adventurous,  and  prosperous, 
and  understand  the  art  of  self-government  and  of  ruling  alien 
peoples  far  better  than  other  colonising  nations  ? 

Whence  do  the  English-speaking  communities  derive  the 
remarkable  energy  they  possess  ;  for  the  people  of  Britain 
when  invaded  by  the  Romans  did  not  show  any  such  quality  ? 

What  are  the  causes  which  have  made  the  English  such  a 
pre-eminently  seafaring  people  ?  for  without  such  a  charac- 
teristic they  could  not  have  been  the  founders  of  so  many 
states  and  colonies  speaking  the  English  tongue  ! 

In  studying  the  history  of  the  world  we  find  that  all  the 
nations  which  have  risen  to  high  power  and  widespread  dominion 
have  been  founded  by  men  endowed  with  great,  I  may  say 
terrible,  energy ;  extreme  bravery  and  the  love  of  conquest 
being  the  most  prominent  traits  of  their  character.  The 
mighty  sword  with  all  its  evils  has  thus  far  always  proved  a 
great  engine  of  civilisation. 

To  get  a  satisfactory  answer  to  the  above  questions  we  must 
go  far  back,  and  study  the  history  of  the  race  who  settled 
in  Britain  during  and  after  the  Roman  occupation.  We 


shall  thus  find  why  their  descendants  are  to-day  so  brave,  suc- 
cessful, energetic  and  prosperous  in  the  lands  which  they 
have  colonised ;  and  why  they  are  so  pre-eminently  skilled  in 
the  art  of  self-government. 

We  find  that  a  long  stretch  of  coast  is  not  sufficient,  though 
necessary,  to  make  the  population  of  a  country  a  seafaring 
nation.  When  the  Romans  invaded  Britain,  the  Brits  had  no 
fleet  to  oppose  them.  We  do  not  until  a  later  period  meet 
with  that  love  of  the  sea  which  is  so  characteristically 
English  : — not  before  the  gradual  absorption  of  the  earlier 
inhabitants  by  a  blue-eyed  and  yellow-haired  seafaring  people 
who  succeeded  in  planting  themselves  and  their  language  in 
the  country. 

To  the  numerous  warlike  and  ocean-loving  tribes  of  the 
North,  the  ancestors  of  the  English-speaking  people,  we  must 
look  for  the  transformation  that  took  place  in  Britain.  In 
their  descendants  we  recognise  to  this  day  many  of  the  very 
same  traits  of  character  which  these  old  Northmen  possessed, 
as  will  be  seen  on  the  perusal  of  this  work. 

Britain,  after  a  continuous  immigration  which  lasted  several 
hundred  years,  became  the  most  powerful  colony  of  the 
Northern  tribes,  several  of  the  chiefs  of  the  latter  claiming  to 
o\\u  a  great  part  of  England  in  the  seventh  and  eighth  cen- 
turies. At  last  the  time  came  when  the  land  of  the  emigrants 
waxed  more  powerful,  more  populous  than  the  mother-country, 
and  asserted  her  independence  ;  and  to-day  the  people  of 
England,  as  they  look  over  the  broad  Atlantic,  may  discern  a 
similar  process  which  is  taking  place  in  the  New  World. 

The  impartial  mind  which  rises  above  the  prejudice  of 
nationality  must  acknowledge  that  no  country  will  leave  a 
more  glorious  impress  upon  the  history  of  the  world  than 
England.  Her  work  cannot  be  undone;  should  she  to-day 
sink  beneath  the  seas  which  bathe  her  shores,  her  record  will 
for  ever  stand  brilliantly  illuminated  on  the  page  of  history. 
The  great  states  which  she  has  founded,  which  have  inherited 
her  tongue,  and  which  are  destined  to  play  a  most  important 
part  in  the  future  of  civilisation,  will  be  witnesses  of  the 
mighty  work  she  has  accomplished.  They  will  look  back  with 
pride  to  the  progenitors  of  their  race  who  lived  in  the  glorious 


and  never-to-be-forgotten  countries  of  the  North,  the  birth- 
place of  a  new  epoch  in  the  history  of  mankind. 

As  ages  roll  on,  England,  the  mother  of  nations,  cannot 
escape  the  fate  that  awaits  all ;  for  on  the  scroll  of  time  this 
everlasting  truth  is  written — birth,  growth,  maturity,  decay  ;— 
and  how  difficult  for  us  to  realise  the  fact  when  in  the  fulness 
of  power,  strength,  and  pride !  Where  is  or  where  has  been 
the  nation  that  can  or  could  exclaim,  "  This  saying  does  not 
apply  to  me ;  I  was  born  great  from  the  beginning ;  I  am  so 
now,  and  will  continue  to  be  powerful  to  the  end  of  time." 
The  ruined  and  deserted  cities  ;  the  scanty  records  of  history, 
which  tell  us  of  dead  civilisations,  the  fragmentary  traditions 
of  religious  beliefs,  the  wrecks  of  empires,  and  the  forgotten 
graves,  are  the  pathetic  and  silent  witnesses  of  the  great  past, 
and  a  sad  suggestion  of  the  inevitable  fate  in  store  for  all. 

The  materials  used  in  these  volumes,  in  describing  the 
cosmogony  and  mythology,  the  life,  religion,  laws  and  customs 
of  the  ancestors  of  the  English-speaking  nations  of  to-day,  are 
mainly  derived  from  records  found  in  Iceland.  These  parch- 
ments, upon  which  the  history  of  the  North  is  written,  and 
which  are  begrimed  by  the  smoke  of  the  Icelandic  cabin,  and 
worn  by  the  centuries  which  have  passed  over  them,  recount 
to  us  the  history  and  the  glorious  deeds  of  the  race. 

No  land  has  bequeathed  to  us  a  literature,  giving  so  minute 
and  comprehensive  an  account  of  the  life  of  a  people.  These 
Sagas  (or  "  say  ")  record  the  leading  events  of  a  man's  life,  or 
family  history,  and  date  from  a  period  even  anterior  to  the  first 
settlement  of  Iceland  (about  870  A.D.). 

Some  Sagas  bear  evident  traces  of  having  been  derived,  or 
even  copied,  from  earlier  documents  now  lost :  in  some  cases 
definite  quotations  are  given  ;  others  are  evidently  of  a  fabulous 
character,  and  have  to  be  treated  with  great  caution  ;  but  even 
these  may  be  used  as  illustrating  the  customs  of  the  times  at 
which  they  were  written.  Occasionally  great  confusion  is 
caused  by  the  blending  of  the  similar  names  of  persons  living 
at  different  periods. 

My  method  of  putting  together  the  series  of  descriptions 
which  will  be  found  in  the  'Viking  Age'  has  been  as 
follows  : — 


By  reading  carefully  every  Saga — and  there  are  hundreds 
of  them — dealing  with  the  events  of  a  man's  life  from  his 
birth  to  his  death,  I  was  able  to  select  the  passages  bearing 
on  the  various  customs.  When  in  one  Saga  the  bare  fact  of 
a  birth,  or  a  marriage,  or  a  burial,  or  a  feast,  etc.,  etc.,  was 
mentioned,  in  others  full  details  of  the  ceremonies  connected 
with  them  were  found.  After  thus  collecting  my  material, 
which  was  of  the  most  superabundant  character,  I  went  over 
it  and  selected  what  seemed  to  me  to  be  the  best  accounts  of 
the  various  customs  with  which  I  deal  in  these  volumes.  I 
have  not  been  content  with  the  translations  of  other  persons, 
but  have  in  every  case  gone  to  the  original  documents  and 
adopted  my  own  rendering  of  them. 

Some  extracts  from  the  Frankish  Chronicles  are  given  in 


the  Appendix,  as  showing  the  power  of  the  Northmen,  and 
bearing  strong  testimony  to  the  truthfulness  of  the  Sagas.  If 
I  had  not  been  afraid  of  being  tedious,  I  could  also  have 
given  extracts  from  Arabic,  Russian,  and  other  annals  to  the 
same  effect. 

The  testimony  of  archeology  as  corroborating  the  Sagas 
forms  one  of  the  most  important  links  in  the  chain  of  my 
argument ;  parchments  and  written  records  form  but  a  portion 
of  the  material  from  which  I  have  derived  my  account  of  the 
'  Viking  Age.'  During  the  last  fifty  years  the  History  of  the 
Northmen  has  been  unearthed  as  it  were — like  that  of  the 
Egyptians,  Assyrians,  and  Romans — by  the  discovery  of  almost 
every  kind  of  implement,  weapon,  and  ornament  produced  by 
that  accomplished  race. 

The  Museums  of  Denmark,  Sweden,  Norway,  England, 
France,  Germany,  Russia,  are  as  richly  stored  with  such  objects 
as  are  the  British  Museum,  the  Louvre,  the  Museums  of  Naples 
and  Boulak  with  the  treasures  of  Egypt  and  Pompeii. 

I  have  myself  seen  nearly  all  the  objects  or  graves  illus- 
trated in  this  book,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  Runic  stones 
which  have  now  disappeared,  but  are  given  in  an  old  work  of 

As  my  materials  expanded  themselves  before  me  I  felt  like 
one  of  those  mariners  of  old  on  a  voyage  of  discovery.  To 
them  new  lands  were  continuously  coming  into  view ;  to  me 


new  materials,  new  fields  of  literary  and  archaeological  wealth 
unfolded    themselves    incessantly.       Thus    carried    away    by 
enthusiasm  and  the  love  of  the  task  I  had  undertaken,  I  have 
been  able  to  labour  for  eight  years  and  a  half  on  the  present 
work,  with  some  interruptions  from  exhaustion  and  impaired 
health.    May  I,  then,  ask  the  indulgence  of  a  public,  which  has 
always  been  kind  to  me,  for  all  the  shortcomings  of  my  work  ? 
I  have  received  valuable  assistance  from  many  friends,  but 
I  desire  especially  to  express  my  thanks  to  Mr.  Bruun,  the 
Chief  Librarian  of  the  Eoyal   Library  of  Denmark,  for  his 
great  kindness  in  allowing  me  so  many  privileges  during  the 
years  I  have  worked  in  Copenhagen  ;  to  Mr.  Birket  Smith,  of 
the  University   Library  of   Copenhagen  ;  and  Mr.  Kaalund, 
Keeper  of  the  Arna  Magntean  Collection  of  Manuscripts,  for 
the   uniform    courtesy    they  have   shown   me ;    among   anti- 
quarians, to  my  friend  Professor  George  Stephens,  author  of 
the  magnificent  work,  '  Northern  Runic  Monuments,'  for  his 
readiness  in  giving  me  all  the  information  and  help  I  needed, 
which  sometimes  occupied  much  of  his  valuable  time  (several 
illustrations  of  the  runic  stones,  etc.,  in  these  volumes  are 
taken  from  his  work) ;    to  Mr.  Vedel,  Vice-President  of  the 
Koyal    Society  of  Antiquarians ;    to  Messrs.   Herbst,   Sophus 
Miiller,   and   Petersen,   of  the   Eoyal    Museum   of  Northern 
Antiquities,  for  their  great  courtesy;  I  am  also  indebted  to 
the  works  of  the  following  distinguished  antiquarians  which 
have  been  invaluable  to  me  in  my  researches  and  which  have 
furnished  me  with  many  of  the  illustrations  for  my  book  :  Ole 
Eygh,    Bugge,  Engelhart,  Nicolaysen,  Sehested,  Steenstrup, 
Madsen,  Save,  Montelius,  Holmberg,  Jorgensen,  Baltzer,  and 
Lorange ;  also  to  the  works  of  the  historians,  Keyser,  Geijer, 
Munch,  Eafn,  Yigfusson.    My  sincere  thanks  are  also  due  to  my 
young  friend  Jon  Stefansson,  an  Icelandic  student,  for  his  con- 
stant help  in  rendering  the  translations  of  the  Sagas  as  accurate 
and  literal  as  possible  ;  and  to  my  old  friend  Mr.  Rasmus  1 ». 
Anderson,  late  American  Minister  to  Denmark,  and  translator 
of  the  '  Later  Edda,'  etc. ;  in  England,  to  Messrs.  A.  S.  Murray, 
Franks,  and  Read,  of  the  British  Museum  ;    to  Dr.   Warre, 
the  head  master  of  Eton,  and  to  General  Pitt  Rivers,  author 
of  a  valuable  work  on   the  excavations   in  Cranborne  Chase, 


which  contains  objects  strikingly  similar  to  those  of  Scandi- 
navia ;  also  to  my  friends  Mr.  J.  S.  Keltic  and  Mr.  Arthur 
L.  Eoberts ;  to  my  old  friends  Messrs.  Clowes,  who  have 
taken  great  pains  in  carrying  out  what  has  proved  to  be  a 
very  difficult  task  for  the  printer,  and  who  have  had  the  work 
over  two-and-a-half  years  in  type. 

I  must  thank,  above  all,  my  esteemed  and  venerable  pub- 
lisher, John  Murray,  for  the  great  interest  he  has  taken  in  the 
present  work,  which  has  tried  his  patience  and  liberality  many 
a  time,  and  also  for  the  many  years  of  uninterrupted  friendship 
and  the  pleasant  business  relations  (unhampered  by  any  written 
agreement  whatever),  which  have  existed  between  us  from,  the 
time  when  I  came  to  him  almost  a  lad,  and  he  first  undertook 
the  publication  of  '  Explorations  in  Equatorial  Africa,'  in  1861, 
not  forgetting  my  dear  friends,  his  sons,  John  and  Hallam, 
the  former  of  whom  has  assisted  me  materially  in  seeing  the 
work  through  the  press,  and  my  old  companion  Kobert  Cooke. 

I  cannot  close  this  preface  without  thanking  my  old  and 
ever  true  friend  Eobert  Winthrop,  of  New  York,  descendant 
of  the  celebrated  Colonial  Governor  of  Massachusetts,  to  whom 
I  dedicated  "  The  Land  of  the  Midnight  Sun,"  for  his  unfail- 
ing kindness  and  sympathy  during  the  years  I  have  been 
engaged  in  the  present  work. 

YORK,  September,  1889. 









MYTHOLOGY  AND  COSMOGONY  (continued)      ....       44 











EUNES ......     154 







GLASS .276 








COXTL\\TS.  xv 



RELIGION. — IDOLS      AND      WORSHIP     OF      MEN     AND 



RELIGION. — THE  VOLVAS .     394 









SUPERSTITIONS. — OMENS     ...  .....     450 






THE  LAND 478 




THE  THING  . 515 



THE  LAWS  OF  THE  EARLIER  ENGLISH  TRIBES  .      .     .     532 





REVENGE.     .     .  584 

A    LIST     OF     THE     PRINCIPAL     SAGAS 




Name  of  Saga. 

Century  with  which  they  deal. 

(    These  are  Mythical,  and 
•  •  no  accunite  date  can  be 



The  Earlier  Edda    . . 
The  Later  Edda 
Fornaldarsogur  contains : — 


Hervara    .. 

Thorstein  Vikingsson's  (father  of  Fridthjof) 

Ketil  Hseng's  sons 

Grim  Lodinkinnis' 

Fridthjof 's 

HrolfKraki's      .. 

Half's       ... 

Sdgubrot  .. 

Ragnar  Lodbrok's 

Ragnar  Lodbrok's  Sons'  .. 

Norna  Gest's 


Orvar  Odd's          

Herraud  and  Bosi's 

Egil  and  Asrrumd's 

Hjalmter  and  Olver's 

Gongu  Hrolf's 

An  bosveigi's 

^%  The  above  dates  are  all  more  or  less  conjectural,  and  the  Sagas  are 
chiefly  valuable  as  illustrating  manners  and  customs. 

Middle  of  IX.  to  end  of 

End  of  X.  to  beginning  of 


IX.-XI.  (886-1030). 
IX.-XI.  (890-1031). 

affixed  to  them. 

Partly  Mythical. 

VI.  (?) 
VI.  (?) 
VI. -VII.  (?) 
VIII.  (?) 
VIII.  (?) 

No  date  can  be  assigned 
to  these. 





Islandinga  Sogur  contains  :— 
I.  Herd's  Sasia 
II.  Hoensa  Thoris' Saga 

III.  Gunnlaug  Ormstunga's  Saga 

IV.  Visa  Styr's  Saga      .. 
V.  Kjalnesinga  Saga     .. 

VI.  Gisli  Siirsson 

X.  (950-990). 
X.-XI.  (990-1010). 


IX. -XI. 




Name  of  Saga; 

Centuiy  with  which  they  deal. 

Droplaugarsona  Saga 
Hrafnkel  Freysgodi 
Bjorn  Hitdaela  Kappi 

Fornsogur  contains  :  — 
I.  Vatnsdajla  Saga 
II.  Floamanna  Saga 

III.  Hallfred's  Saga 

Gretti's  Saga 

Viga  Glum 



Thorskfirdinga,  or  (Jullthori's 

Heidar  Viga  (continuation  of  Viga  Styr's) 


Finnbogi  Kami's 

Eirek  the  Red 

Thatt  of  Styrbj6rn  (nephew  of  Eirek  the  Vic-j 
torious,  who  fell  at  the  battle  of  Fyrisvellir,  | 
983)  j 

Landnarna    . .  . .          . .          . .          . .          . .  \ 

Islendiuga  bok 
Vernund's  Saga    .. 

Biskupa  Sogur  contains  : — 
Kristui  Saga 

Fornrnanna  Sogur  contains : — 
I.  Sagas  of  Kings  of  Norway 
II.  Jomsvikinga  Saga  .. 
III.  Knytlinga  Saga 

IV.  Fagrskinna    (short    history    of    Kings   of 

Norway    from    Halfdan    the    Black    to( 
Sverrir)     ..  ..  ..  .. 

Heimskringla  Saga  contains  the  Ynglinga  Saga,  I 
the  great  work  of  Snorri  Sturluson       ..          . .  f 

FJateyjarbok  contains  lives  of  Kings  of  Norway, 


Fostbraedra  Saga 
Konung's  Skuggsja 
Orkneyiuga  .. 


hirst  half  of  XL 

IX.-Xf.  (c.  870-1000). 

X.  (c.  985-990). 

End  of  X. 

X.-XI.      (Grettir      died 


Beginning  of  XI. 
IX  —X 

X.  (c.  900-930). 
First  hall  of  XI. 
X.-XI.  (c.  960-1040). 


JX.-X.  (the  colonisation 

of  Iceland). 

IX.-XI.  (c.  874-1118). 
End  of  X.  century. 
First  half  of  X.  century. 

X.-XI  I.  (c,  980-1120). 




Written  in  first  half  of 
XIII.  cent.,  giving 
history  of  the  Kings  of 
Norway  and  Sweden 
from  Odin  down  to 

XI.  (c.  1015-30). 



IX.-XIII.(c.  870-1 -06). 






Harakl  Bluetooth  . . 
Sveiu  Tjuguskegg . . 
Harald  ..  ..'  .. 
Knut  the  Great 








Horda  Knut  . .  . .  1035-1042 

Magnus  the  Good,  ruled 

over      Denmark      and 

Norway  1042-1047 

Svein  Ulfsson  1047-1075 


Halfdau  the  Black,  died 
Harald  Fairhair,  reigned 
Eirik  Blnodaxe         „ 
Hakon  the  Good      „ 
HaraLl  Grafeld  (-reyskin) 

Hakon  Jarl  the  Great,  the 
hero  of  the    battle   of 
Goms  viking,      reigned 
Olaf  Tryggvason        „ 
Eirik  Jarl         ..         „ 
St  Olaf. 

(Mostly  petty  Kings.) 




960-1 ii  ;r, 






Knut  the  Great  reigned  1028-1035 
Magnus  the  Good  „  1035-1047 
Harald  Hardradi  „  1047-1066 
Olaf  the  Quiet  „  1066-1093 

Magnus  Barefoot        „         1093-1103 
Three     sons  : — Eystein, 

Olaf,  Sigurd  Jorsalafari  1103-1 130 
Civil  war  —Harald  Gilli, 
Magnus  the  Blind,  and 

others 1130-1162 

Magnus  Erlingsson  ..  1162-1184 
Sverrir  (Sigurdsnn)  ..  1184-1202 


(Not  mentioned  in  the  Odinic  Genealogies,  vol.  i.  p.  67.) 

Ivar  Vidfadmi 
Harald  Hilditonn 
Sigurd  Hrhm 
Eagnar  Lodbrok 
Bjorn  Ironside. 
Eirik  and  Refil. 

K  ings  of  Swe- 
den and  Den- 

Eymund  and  Bjorn 
Olaf  and  Eyuinnd 
Eyrik  Eyrnundsson    died 
Bjorn  Eiriksson  and  Hring 
Eirik  the  Victorious    .. 
( )laf  Skaut-konung 
Onund  Jakob  .. 
Eymund  the  Old 
Steinkel  Rosnvaldson 


c.  850 
c.  882 
c.  950-994 
c.  994-1022 
c.  1022-1  (>.-)<> 
c.  1050-1060 
c.  1060-1066 

I.  TVacte  route  o/  Vaeriigs  (by  Dnieper) 

I.  Tradf  route  of  Vferinqs  (bu  Volga  and  Don) 

Walker  &•  Ko:it.ill  sc 





Early  antiquities  of  the  North — Literature :  English  and  Prankish  chronicles 
—Early  civilisation — Beauty  of  ornaments,  weapons,  &c. 

A  STUDY  of  the  ancient  literature  and  abundant  archaeology  of 
the  North  gives  us  a  true  picture  of  the  character  and  life  of 
the  Norse  ancestors  of  the  English-speaking  peoples. 

We  can  form  a  satisfactory  idea  of  their  religious,  social, 
political,  and  warlike  life.  We  can  follow  them  from  their 
birth  to  their  grave.  We  see  the  infant  exposed  to  die,  or 
ivater  sprinkled?  and  a  name  bestowed  upon  it ;  follow  the 
child  in  his  education,  in  his  sports ;  the  young  man  in  his 
practice  of  arms ;  the  maiden  in  her  domestic  duties  and 
embroidery ;  the  adult  in  his  warlike  expeditions ;  hear  the  clash 
of  swords  and  the  songs  of  the  Scald,  looking  on  and  inciting 
the  warriors  to  greater  deeds  of  daring,  or  it  may  be  recounting 
afterwards  the  glorious  death  of  the  hero.  We  listen  to  the 
old  man  giving  his  advice  at  the  Thing.2'  We  learn  about 
their  dress,  ornaments,  implements,  weapons ;  their  expressive 
names  and  complicated  relationships;  their  dwellings  and 
convivial  halls,  with  their  primitive  or  magnificent  furniture ; 
their  temples,  sacrifices,  gods,  and  sacred  ceremonies  ;  their 
personal  appearance,  even  to  the  hair,  eyes,  face  and  limbs. 
Their  festivals,  betrothal  and  marriage  feasts  are  open  to  us. 
We  are  present  at  their  athletic  games  preparatory  to  the  stern 
realities  of  the  life  of  that  period,  where  honour  and  renown 
were  won  on  the  battle-field ;  at  the  revel  and  drunken  bout ; 

1  A  kind  of  baptism.  a  The  assembly  of  the  people. 

VOL.    I.  B 


behold  the  dead  warrior  on  his  burning  ship  or  on  the  pyre, 
and  surrounded  by  his  weapons,  horses,  slaves,  or  fallen  com- 
panions who  are  to  enter  with  him  into  Valhalla  ;l  look  into 
the  death  chamber,  see  the  mounding  and  the  Arvel,  or  inheri- 
tance feast. 

These  Norsemen  had  carriages  or  chariots,  as  well  as 
horses,  and  the  numerous  skeletons  of  this  animal  in  graves  or 
bogs  prove  it  to  have  been  in  common  use  at  a  very  early 
period.  .  Their  dress,  and  the  splendour  of  their  riding  equip- 
ment for  war,  the  richness  of  the  ornamentation  of  their 
weapons  of  offence  and  defence  are  often  carefully  described. 
Everywhere  we  see  that  gold  was  in  the  greatest  abundance. 
The  descriptions  of  such  wealth  might  seem  to  be  very  much 
exasperated ;  but,  as  will  be  seen  in  the  course  of  this  work, 


the  antiquities  treasured  in  the  museums  of  the  North  bear 
witness  to  the  truthfulness  of  the  records.  The  spade  has 
developed  the  history  of  Scandinavia,  as  it  has  done  that  of 
Assyria  and  Etruria,  but  in  addition  the  Northmen  had  the 
Saga  and  Edda  literature  to  perpetuate  their  deeds. 

We  are  the  more  astonished  as  we  peruse  the  Eddas  and  Sagas 
giving  the  history  of  the  North,  and  examine  the  antiquities 
found  in  the  country,  for  we  hear  hardly  anything  about  the 
customs  of  the  people  from  the  Roman  writers,  and  our  ideas 
regarding  them  have  been  thoroughly  vitiated  by  the  earlier 
Frankish  and  English  chronicles  and  other  monkish  writings, 
or  by  the  historians  who  have  taken  these  records  as  a  trust- 
worthy authority. 

Some  writers,  in  order  to  give  more  weight  to  these 
chronicles,  and  to  show  the  great  difference  that  existed 
between  the  invaders  and  invaded,  and  how  superior  the  latter 
were  to  the  former,  paint  in  a  graphic  manner,  without  a 
shadow  of  authority,  the  contrast  between  the  two  peoples. 
England  is  described  as  being  at  that  time  a  most  beautiful 
country,  a  panegyric  which  does  not  apply  to  fifteen  or  twenty 
centuries  ago  ;  while  the  country  of  the  aggressor  is  depicted 
as 'one  of  swamp  and  forest  inhabited  by  wild  and  savage  men. 
It  is  forgotten  that  after  a  while  the  people  of  the  country 
attacked  were  the  same  people  as  those  of  the  North  or  their 

«  '  The  hull  and  abode  of  the  slain. 

Till-:  MHltSEMEN  \<>T  JLllillAIHWS. 

descendants,  who  in  intelligence,  civilisation,  and  manly  virtues 
were  far  superior  to  the  original  and  effete  inhabitants  of 
the  shores  they  invaded. 

The  men  of  the  North  who  settled  and  conquered  part  of 
Gaul  and  Britain,  whose  might  the  power  of  Rome  could  not 
destroy,  and  whose  depredations  it  could  not  prevent,  were  not 
savages  :  the  Romans  did  not  dare  attack  these  men  at  home 

r5  3 

with  their  fleet  or  with  their  armies.  Nay,  they  even  had 
allowed  these  Northmen  to  settle  peacefully  in  their  provinces 
of  Gaul  and  Britain. 

No,  the  people  who  were  then  spread  over  a  great  part  o-f 
the  present  Russia,  who  overran  Germania,  who  knew  the  art 
of  writing,  who  led  their  conquering  hosts  to  Spain,  into  the 
Mediterranean,  to  Italy,  Sicily,  Greece,  the  Black  Sea,  Pales- 
tine, Africa,  and  even  crossed  the  broad  Atlantic  to  America, 
who  were  undisputed  masters  of  the  sea  for  more  than  twelve 
centuries,  were  not  barbarians.  Let  those  who  uphold  the  con- 
trary view  produce  evidence  from  archaeology  of  an  indigenous 
British  or  Gallic  civilisation  which  surpasses  that  of  the  North. 

The  antiquities  of  the  North  even  without  its  literature 
would  throw  an  indirect  but  valuable  light  on  the  history  of 
the  earlier  Norse  tribes,  the  so-called  barbarians,  fiends,  devils, 
sons  of  Pluto,  &c.,  of  the  Frankish  and  English  chronicles. 
To  the  latter  we  can  refer  for  stories  of  terrible  acts  of  cruelty 
committed  by  the  countrymen  of  the  writers  who  recount 
them  with  complacency  ;  maiming  prisoners  or  antagonists 
and  sending  multitudes  into  slavery  far  away  from  their  homes. 
But  the  greatest  of  all  outrages  in  the  eyes  of  these  monkish 
scribes  was  that  the  Northmen  burned  a  church  or  used  it  for 
sheltering  their  men  or  stabling  their  horses. 

The  writers  of  the  English  and  Frankish  chronicles  were 
the  worst  enemies  of  the  Northmen,  ignorant  and  bigoted  men 
when  judged  by  the  standard  of  our  time;  through  their 
writings  we  hardly  know  anything  of  the  customs  of  their 
own  people.  They  could  see  nothing  good  in  a  man  who  had 
not  a  religion  identical  with  their  own. 

Still  allowance  must  be  made  for  the  chroniclers  ;  they  wrote 
the  history  of  their  own  period  with  the  bigotry,  passions,  and 

hatreds,  of  their  times. 

B  2 


The  striking  fact  brought  vividly  before  our  mind  is  that 
the  people  of  the  North,  even  before  the  time  when  they 
carried  their  warfare  into  Gaul  and  Britain,  possessed  a 
degree  of  civilisation  which  would  be  difficult  for  us  to  realise 
were  it  not  that  the  antiquities  help  us  in  a  most  remarkable 
manner,  and  in  many  essential  points,  to  corroborate  the 
truthfulness  of  the  Eddas  and  Sagas. 

The  indisputable  fact  remains  that  both  the  Gauls  and  the 
Britons  were  conquered  by  the  Romans  and  afterwards  by  the 
Northern  tribes. 

This  Northern  civilisation  was  peculiar  to  itself,  having 
nothing  in  common  with  the  Roman  world.  Rome  knew 


nothing  of  these  people  till  they  began  to  frequent  the  coasts 
of  her  North  Sea  provinces,  in  the  days  of  Tacitus,  and  after 
his  time  the  Mediterranean.  The  North  was  separated  from 
Rome  by  the  swamps  and  forests  of  Germania — a  vague  term 
given  to  a  country  north  and  north-east  of  Italy,  a  land 
without  boundaries,  and  inhabited  by  a  great  number  of 
warlike,  wild,  uncivilised  tribes.  According  to  the  accounts 
of  Roman  writers,  these  people  were  very  unlike  those  of  the 
North,  and  we  must  take  the  description  given  of  them  to  be 
correct,  as  there  is  no  archaeological  discovery  to  prove  the 
contrary.  They  were  distinct ;  one  was  comparatively  civilised, 
the  other  was  not. 

The  manly  civilisation  the  Northmen  possessed  was  their 
own  ;  from  their  records,  corroborated  by  finds  in  Southern 
Russia,  it  seems  to  have  advanced  north  from  about  the  shores 
of  the  Black  Sea,  and  we  shall  be  able  to  see  in  the  perusal  of 
these  pages  how  many  Northern  customs  were  like  those  of  the 
ancient  Greeks. 

A  view  of  the  past  history  of  the  world  will  show  us  that 
the  growth  of  nations  which  have  become  powerful  has  been 
remarkably  steady,  and  has  depended  upon  the  superior 
intelligence  of  the  conquering  people  over  their  neighbours ; 
just  as  to-day  the  nations  who  have  taken  possession  ol 
far-off  lands  and  extended  their  domain,  are  superior  to  the 

The  museums  of  Copenhagen,  Stockholm.  Christiania, 
Bergen,  Lund,  Goteborg,  and  many  smaller  ones  in  the  pro- 

BKAl'TY  <>!•'   WORKMANSHIP.  5 

vincial  towns  of  the  three  Scandinavian  kingdoms,  show  a  most 
wonderful  collection  of  antiquities  which  stand  unrivalled  in 
Central  and  Northern  Europe  for  their  wealth  of  weapons  and 
costly  objects  of  gold  and  silver,  belonging  to  the  bronze  and 
iron  age,  and  every  year  additions  are  made. 

The  weapons  found  with  their  peculiar  northern  ornamen- 
tation, and  the  superb  ring  coats-of-mail,  show  the  skill  of  the 
people  in  working  iron.  A  great  number  of  their  early  swords 
and  other  weapons  are  damascened  even  so  far  back  as  the 
beginning  of  the  Christian  era,  and  show  either  that  this 
art  was  practised  in  the  North  long  before  its  introduction 
into  the  rest  of  Europe  from  Damascus  by  the  Crusaders,  or 
that  the  Norsemen  were  so  far  advanced  as  to  be  able  to 
appreciate  the  artistic  manufactures  of  Southern  nations. 

The  remnants  of  articles  of  clothing  with  graceful  patterns, 
interwoven  with  threads  of  gold  and  silver,  which  have  for- 
tunately escaped  entire  destruction,  show  the  existence  of 
great  skill  in  weaving.  Entire  suits  of  wearing  apparel 
remain  to  tell  us  how  some  of  the  people  dressed  in  the 
beginning  of  our  era. 

Beautiful  vessels  of  silver  and  gold  also  testify  to  the  taste 
and  luxury  of  those  early  times.  The  knowledge  of  the  art 
of  writing  and  of  gilding  is  clearly  demonstrated.  In  some 
cases,  nearly  twenty  centuries  have  not  been  able  to  tarnish  or 
obliterate  the  splendour  of  the  gilt  jewels  of  the  Northmen. 
We  find  among  their  remains — either  of  their  own  manufac- 
ture or  imported,  perhaps  as  spoils  of  war — repousse  work  of 
gold  or  silver,  bronze,  silver,  and  wood  work  covered  with  the 
thinnest  sheets  of  gold  ;  the  filigree  work  displays  great  skill, 
and  some  of  it  could  not  be  surpassed  nowr.  Many  objects 
are  ornamented  with  niello,  and  of  so  thorough  a  northern 
pattern,  that  they  are  incontestably  of  home  manufacture. 
The  art  of  enamelling  seems  also  to  have  been  known  to  the 
artificers  of  the  period. 

Objects,  many  of  which  show  much  refined  taste,  such  as 
superb  specimens  of  glass  vessels  with  exquisite  painted 
subjects — unrivalled  for  their  beauty  of  pattern,  even  in  the 
museums  of  Italy  and  Russia — objects  of  bronze,  &c.,  make  us 
pause  with  astonishment,  and  musingly  ask  ourselves  from 


what  country  these  came.  The  names  of  Etruria,  of  ancient 
Greece,  and  of  Home,  naturally  occur  to  our  minds. 

Other  objects  of  unquestionable  Roman  and  Greek  manu- 
facture, and  hundreds  and  thousands  of  coins,  of  the  first, 
second,  third  and  fourth  centuries  of  the  Christian  era,  show 
the  early  intercourse  the  people  of  the  North  had  with  the 
western  and  eastern  Roman  empire,  and  with  Frisia,  Gaul, 
and  Britain. 

A  careful  perusal  of  the  Eddas  and  Sagas  will  enable  us, 
with  the  help  of  the  ancient  Greek  and  Latin  writers,  and 
without  any  serious  break  in  the  chain  of  events,  to  make  out 
a  fairly  continuous  history  which  throws  considerable  light  on 
the  progenitors  of  the  English-speaking  people,  their  migra- 
tions northward  from  their  old  home  on  the  shores  of  the 
Black  Sea,  their  religion,  and  the  settlement  of  Scandinavia, 
of  England,  and  other  countries. 



The  three  maritime  tribes  of  the  North — The  fleets  of  the  Sueones— Expedi- 
tions of  Saxons  and  Franks — Home  of  these  tribes — The  tribes  of 
Germanianot  seafaring — Probable  origin  of  the  names  Saxons  and  Franks. 

EOMAN  writers  give  us  the  names  of  three  maritime  tribes  of 
the  North,  which  were  called  by  them  Sueones,  Saxones,  and 
Fraud.  The  first  of  these,  which  is  the  earliest  mentioned,  is 
thus  described  by  Tacitus  (circ.  57-117  A.D.)  :— 

"  Hence  the  States  of  the  Sueones,  situated  in  the  ocean 
itself,  are  not  only  powerful  on  land,  but  also  have  mighty 
fleets.  The  shape  of  their  ships  is  different,  in  that,  having 
a  prow  at  each  end,  they  are  always  ready  for  running  on  to 
the  beach.  They  are  not  worked  by  sails,  nor  are  the  oars 
fastened  to  the  sides  in  regular  order,  but  left  loose  as  in 
some  rivers,  so  that  they  can  be  shifted  here  or  there  as 
circumstances  may  require." 

The  word  Sviar,  which  is  constantly  met  with  in  the  Sagas 
to  denote  the  inhabitants  of  Svithjod  (Sweden),  or  the  country 
of  which  Upsala  was  the  capital,  corresponds  somewhat  to  the 
name  Sueones,  and  it  is  highly  probable  that  in  Sueones  we 
have  the  root  of  Sviar  and  of  Svithjod.  The  ships  described 
by  Tacitus  are  exactly  like  those  which  are  described  in  this 
work  as  having  been  found  in  the  North. 

It  stands  to  reason  that  the  maritime  power  of  the  Sueones 
must  have  been  the  growth  of  centuries  before  the  time  of 
Tacitus,  and  from  analogy  of  historical  records  we  know  that  the 
fleets  of  powerful  nations  do  not  remain  idle.  Hence  we  must 
come  to  the  conclusion  that  the  Sueones  navigated  the  sea  long 

1  "  Sueonum  hinc  civitates,  ipso  in 
oceano,  proeter  viros  armaque  classibus 
valent.  Forma  navium  eo  diffrrt  quod 

nee  remos  in  ordinem  lateribus  adjun- 
gUTit:  solutum,  ut  in  quibusdam  flu- 
mimirn,  et  mutabile,  ut  res  posrit,  hinc 

utrinque  prora  paratam  semper  appulsui       et  illine  remigium"  ((Win.  xliv.). 
frontem   agit.      Nee   veils    niinistrantur, 


before  the  time  of  Tacitus,  an  hypothesis  which  is  implied  by 
the  Eddas  and  Sagas  as  well  as  by  the  antiquities  discovered. 

That  the  Sueones,  with  such  fleets,  did  not  navigate  westward 
further  than  Frisia  is  not  credible,  the  more  so  that  it  was 
only  necessary  for  them  to  follow  the  coast  in  order  to  come  to 
the  shores  of  Gaul,  from  which  they  could  see  Britain,  and 
such  maritime  people  must  have  had  intercourse  with  the 
inhabitants  of  that  island  at  that  period  ;  indeed,  the  objects 
of  the  earlier  iron  age  discovered  in  Britain,  which  were  until 
lately  classed  as  Anglo-Roman,  are  identical  with  those  of  the 
country  from  which  these  people  came,  i.e.,  Scandinavia. 

The  Veneti,  a  tribe  who  inhabited  Brittany,  and  whose 
power  on  the  sea  is  described  by  Caesar,  were  in  all  proba- 
bility the  advance-guard  of  the  tribes  of  the  North  ;  their  ships 
were  built  of  oak,  with  iron  nails,  just  as  those  of  the  North- 
men ;  and  the  people  of  the  country  in  which  they  settled  were 
not  seafaring.1  Moreover,  the  similarity  of  the  name  to  that 
of  the  Venedi,  who  are  conjecturally  placed  by  Tacitus  on  the 
shores  of  the  Baltic,  and  to  the  Vends,  so  frequently  mentioned 
in  the  Sagas,  can  scarcely  be  regarded  as  a  mere  accident. 

"  The  Veneti  have  a  very  great  number  of  ships,  with  which 
they  have  been  accustomed  to  sail  to  Britain,  and  excel  the 
rest  of  the  people  in  their  knowledge  and  experience  of 
nautical  affairs ;  and  as  only  a  few  ports  lie  scattered  along 

1  "  Hujus  est  civitatis  longe  amplissima  que  tenuiter   confectas,  has  sive   propter 

auctoritas  omuis  ores  maritimae  regionutn  lini  inojiiam  atque  ejus  usus  inscientiam, 

earum,    quod    et    naves    habent    Veneti  :    sive  eo,  quod  est  magis  verisimile,  quod 

plurimas,  quibus  in  Britanniam  navigare  tantas     tempestates     Oceani     tantosque 

consuerunt,  et  scientia  atque  usu  nauti-  ,    impetus    ventorum     sustineri,    ac    tanta 

carum  rerum  reliquos  antecedunt,  et  in  I    ouera  navium  regi  velis  non  satis  com- 

magno  impetu  maris  atque  aperto,  paucis 
portibus  iuterjectis,  quos  tenent  ipsi, 
omnes  fere  qui  eo  mari  uti  consuerunt, 
habent  vectigales  "(Gallic  War,  iii.  c.  8). 
"Namque  ipsorum  naves  ad  hunc 
modum  facts  armatacque  erant ;  carinae 
aliquanto  planiores,  quam  nostrarum 
navium,  quo  facilius  vada  ac  decessum 

mode  posse  arbitrabantur.  Cum  his 
navibus  nostrae  class!  ejusmodi  congressus 
erat,  ut  una  celeritute  et  pulsu  remorum 
pra?staret  ;  reliqua,  pro  loci  Datura, 
pro  vi  tempestatum,  illis  essent  aptiora 
et  accommodatiora.  Neque  euim  hi*  nostra 
rostro  nocere  poterant  (tanta  in  his  erat 
rirmitudo),  neque  propter  altitudinem 

restus  excipere  possent ;  prorae  admodum  facile  telum   adjiciebatur,  et    eadem    de 

erectae,  atque  item   puppes  ad  magnitu-  causa    minus  commode    copulis  contine- 

dinem  fluctuum  tempestatumque  accom-  !    bautur.       Accedebat,     ut,    cum    saevire 

modatae;   naves  tola.'  facta^   ex  robore  ad  |    ventus  coepi=set  et  se  vento  dedissent,  et 

quam  vis  vim  et  contumeliam  perferendam;  t*>nipestalem  ferrent  facilius,  et  in  vadis 

transtra  pedalibus  in  latitudinem  trabibus  j    consisterent   tutius,   et   ab   aestu  relictae 

confixa  clavis  ferreis  digiti   pollicis  eras-  nihil   saxa  et  cautes  timerent ;   quarum 

situdine ;    ancorae    pro    funibus    ferreis 

rerum    omnium     nostris    navibus    casus 

catenis  reviiietae ;  pelles  pro  velis  alutse-    '    erat  extimescendus  "  (c.  ll-j). 


that  stormy  and  open  sea,  of  which  they  are  in  possession, 
they  hold  as  tributaries  almost  all  those  who  have  been 
accustomed  to  traffic  in  that  sea.  .  .  ." 

"  For  their  own  ships  were  built  and  equipped  in  the  following 
manner  :  Their  ships  were  more  flat-bottomed  than  our  vessels. 
in  order  that  they  might  be  able  more  easily  to  guard  against 
shallows  and  the  ebbing  of  the  tide  ;  the  prows  were  very  much 
elevated,  as  also  the  sterns,  so  as  to  encounter  heavy  waves 
and  storms.  The  vessels  were  built  wholly  of  oak,  so  as  to 
bear  any  violence  or  shock  ;  the  cross-benches,  a  foot  in  breadth, 
were  fastened  by  iron  spikes  of  the  thickness  of  the  thumb  ; 
the  anchors  were  secured  to  iron  chains,  instead  of  to  ropes  ; 
raw  hides  and  thinly-dressed  skins  were  used  for  sails,  either 
on  account  of  their  want  of  canvas  and  ignorance  of  its  use, 
or  for  this  reason,  which  is  the  more  likely,  that  they  con- 
sidered that  such  violent  ocean  storms  and  such  strong  winds 
could  not  be  resisted,  and  such  heavy  vessels  could  not  be 
conveniently  managed  by  sails.  The  attack  of  our  fleet  on 
these  vessels  was  of  such  a  nature  that  the  only  advantage 
was  in  its  swiftness  and  the  power  of  its  oars  ;  in  everything 
else,  considering  the  situation  and  the  fury  of  the  storm,  they 
had  the  advantage.  For  neither  could  our  ships  damage  them 
by  ramming  (so  strongly  were  they  built),  nor  was  a  weapon 
easily  made  to  reach  them,  owing  to  their  height,  and  for  the 
same  reason  they  were  not  so  easily  held  by  grappling-irons. 
To  this  was  added,  that  when  the  wind  had  begun  to  get 
strong,  and  they  had  driven  before  the  gale,  they  could  better 
weather  the  storm,  and  also  more  safely  anchor  among  shallows, 
and,  when  left  by  the  tide,  need  in  no  respect  fear  rocks  and 
reefs,  the  dangers  from  all  which  things  were  greatly  to  be 
dreaded  by  our  vessels." 

Roman  writers  after  the  time  of  Tacitus  mention  warlike 
and  maritime  expeditions  by  the  Saxons  and  Franks.  Their 
names  do  not  occur  in  Tacitus,  but  it  is  not  altogether 
improbable  that  these  people,  whom  later  writers  mention  as 
ravaging  every  country  which  they  could  enter  by  sea  or  land, 
are  the  people  whom  Tacitus  knew  as  the  Sueones. 

The  maritime  power  of  the  Sueones  could  not  have  totally 
disappeared  in  a  century,  a  hypothesis  which  is  borne  out 
by  the  fact  that  after  a  lapse  of  seven  centuries  they  arc 
again  mentioned  in  the  time  of  Charlemagne  ;  nor  could  the 
supremacy  of  the  so-called  Saxons  and  Franks  on  the  sea  have 


arisen  in  a  day ;  it  must  have  been  the  growth  of  even  genera- 
tions before  the  time  of  Tacitus. 

Ptolemy  (circ.  A.D.  140)  is  the  first  writer  who  mentions  the 
Saxons  as  inhabiting  a  territory  north  of  the  Elbe,  on  the  neck 

£D  *t 

of  the  Cimbric  Chersonesus.1  They  occupied  but  a  small  space, 
for  between  them  and  the  Cimbri,  at  the  northern  extremity  of 
the  peninsula,  he  places  ten  other  tribes,  among  them  the  Angli. 
About  a  century  after  the  time  of  Ptolemy,  Franks  and 
Saxons  had  already  widely  extended  their  expeditions  at  sea. 
Some  of  the  former  made  an  expedition  from  the  Euxine, 
through  the  Mediterranean,  plundered  Syracuse,  and  returned 
without  mishap  across  the  great  sea  (A.D.  circ.  280).2 

"  He  (Probus)  permitted  the  Bastarnae,  a  Scythian  race,  who 
had  submitted  themselves  to  him,  to  settle  in  certain  districts 
of  Thrace  which  he  allotted  to  them,  and  from  thenceforth 
these  people  always  lived  under  the  laws  and  institutions  of 
Home.  And  there  were  certain  Franks  who  had  come  to  the 
Emperor,  and  had  asked  for  land  on  which  to  settle.  A  part 
of  them,  however,  revolted,  and  having  obtained  a  large 
number  of  ships,  caused  disturbances  throughout  the  whole  of 
Greece,  and  having  landed  in  Sicily  and  made  an  assault  on 
Syracuse,  they  caused  much  slaughter  there.  They  also  landed 
in  Libya,  but  were  repulsed  at  the  approach  of  the  Cartha- 
ginian forces.  Nevertheless,  they  managed  to  get  back  to 
their  home  unscathed." 

"  Why  should  I  tell  again  of  the  most  remote  nations  of  the 
Franks  (of  Francia),  which  were  carried  away  not  from  those 
regions  which  the  Romans  had  on  a  former  occasion  invaded, 
but  from  their  own  native  territory,  and  the  farthest  shores  of  the 
land  of  the  barbarians,  and  transported  to  the  deserted  parts  of 
Gaul  that  they  might  promote  the  peace  of  the  Roman  Empire 
by  their  cultivation  and  its  armies  by  their  recruits  ?  " 3 

rl  r~bv  av^tva.  TTJS  Ki/x^pi/crjj  xfP~  Surctyuecos    f'/c 

(Tovffffov  ~S,dtovts  (Geog.  lib.  ii.  c.  2).  o'ia  re  ytyovtv  airadris  fTra.v^\Qt1v 

2  Batnopi'os  Se,  ~S.Kv6iK.ov  tdvos,  inroTrt-  (Zosimus.  de  Probo,  i.  71). 

ff6vTas  ainif  irpoff(/>os  KartaKifff   Qpa-  3  ''Quid  loquar  rursus  intimas  Francia? 

-  Ka^  StfTf\effav  TO?S  'Pw/jLaiwf  \    nationes  jam  non  ab  iis  locis  quas  olim 

vo/xoi?.     Kal     4>pdyKct!v    Tip  Romani    invaserant,    sed    a    propriis    ex 

TrporreAfioi/Taii/      Kal     TV^OVT^V  origine     sui    sedibus,    atque    ab    ultirais 

/j.o7pd    TIS     cnroirrarra,    ir\oiu>v  barbaria;  littoribus  avulsas,  ut,  in  desertis 

rr^v    'EAA.a8a    ffwe-rdpa^v  Gallia}    regiouibus     collocata;    et    pacem 

KOI  StweAia  Trpoffffx°vffa  Kal  rft  :    Romani  imperii  cultu  juvarent  et  arma 

Trpo(T/j.i^a(ra     iro\vv     Kara  delectu  ?  "         (Euinenius.         (Jimstantiu. 

flpyduaro    (pdvov.       ^5rj    86    Kal        ^llg-  L'-  vi.) 
vi]  irpoffop/j.i<T(>f7cra,  Kal  ai 

EXPEDITION  01''  Till':  I'll  AN  KS  AM>  SAXONS.  I  I 

"There  came  to  mind  the  incredible  daring  ;md  undeserved 
success  of  a  handful  of  the  captive  Franks  under  the  Emperor 
Probus.  For  they,  having  seized  some  ships,  so  far  away  as 
Pontus,  having  laid  waste  Greece  and  Asia,  having  landed  and 
done  some  damage  on  several  parts  of  the  coast  of  Africa, 
actually  took  Syracuse,  which  was  at  one  time  so  renowned 
for  her  naval  ascendancy.  Thereupon  they  accomplished  a 
very  long  voyage  and  entered  the  Ocean  at  the  point  where  it 
breaks  through  the  land  (the  Straits  of  Gibraltar),  and  so  by 
the  result  of  their  daring  exploit  showed  that  wherever  ships 
can  sail,  nothing  is  closed  to  pirates  in  desperation." ' 

In  the  time  of  Diocletian  and  Maximian  these  maritime 
tribes  so  harassed  the  coasts  of  Gaul  and  Britain  that  Max- 
imian, in  286,  was  obliged  to  make  Gesoriacum  or  Bononia 
(the  present  Boulogne)  into  a  port  for  the  Roman  fleet,  in 
order  as  far  as  possible  to  prevent  their  incursions. 

"  About  this  time  (A.D.  287)  Carausius,  who,  though  of  very 
humble  origin,  had,  in  the  exercise  of  vigorous  warfare, 
obtained  a  distinguished  reputation,  was  appointed  at  Bononia 
to  reduce  to  quiet  the  coast  regions  of  Belgica  and  Armorica, 
which  were  overrun  by  the  Franks  and  Saxons.  But  though 
many  of  the  barbarians  were  captured,  the  whole  of  the  booty 
was  not  handed  over  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  province,  nor 
sent  to  the  conimander-in-chief,  and  the  barbarians  were, 
moreover,  deliberately  allowed  by  him  to  come  in,  that  he 
might  capture  them  with  their  spoils  as  they  passed  through, 
and  by  this  means  enrich  himself.  On  being  condemned  to 
death  by  Maximian,  he  seized  on  the  sovereign  command,  and 
took  possession  of  Britain."  2 

Eutropius  also  records  that  the  St.xons  and  others  dwelt  on 
the  coasts  of  and  among  the  marshes  of  the  great  sea,  which 

1  "  Rectirsabat  quippe   in   ammos  ilia 
sub  Divo  Probo  et  {>aucorum  ex  Francis 
captivorum  incredibilis  audacia  et  indigna 
felicitas,    qui    a    Ponto    usque    correptis 
navibus  Graeciam  Asiamque  populati  nee 
impune  plerisque  Libya  littoribus  appulsi 
ipsas  postremo,  navalibus  quondam  vic- 
toriis  nobiles  ceperant  Syracusas,  et  im- 
inenso     itinere     pervecti    Oceanum,   qua 
terras  irrupit  intraverant  atque  ita  eventu 
temeritatis  ostenderant  nihil  esse  clausum 
piraticae  desperation!  quonavigiis  pateret 
accessus''  (Eumenius  Panegyr.  Const.  Caes. 
xviii.  ciro.  A  n.  300) 

2  "  Pi  r    liifc  ttMnpnra  (i.e.  287)  ntiain 

Carausius,  qui  vilissime  natus  in  strenuip 
militia1  ordine  fa  ma  MI  egregiam  fuerat 
coHsecutus,  cum  apud  BonoMiam  per 
tractum  Belgicas  et  Armorica;  pacandum 
mare  aceepisset,  quod  Franci  et  Saxones 
infestabant,  multis  barbaris  saepe  captis, 
nee  pracda  integra  aut  provincia'libus 
reddita  aut  imperatoribus  missa  consulto 
ab  eo  admitti  barbaros  ut  transeuntes 
cum  prseda  pxciperet  atque  hac  se  occa- 
sione  ditaret ;  a  Maximiano  JUSMIS  occidi 
])iirpuram  sumpsit  et  Britannias  occu- 
pavit "  (Eutropius,  Breviarium  Hist<>ri;i; 
ix.  ch.  21). 



no  one  could  traverse,  but  the  Emperor  Valentiniau  (320-o 
nevertheless  conquered  them. 
The  Emperor  Julian  calls  the 

"  Franks  and  Saxons  the  most  warlike  of  the  tribes  above 
the  Rhine  and  the  Western  Sea."  1 

Ammianus  Marcellinus  (d.  circ.  400  A  D.)  writes  :— 

"  At  this  time  (middle  of  the  4th  century),  just  as  though 
the  trumpets  were  sounding  a  challenge  throughout  all  the 
Roman  world,  fierce  nations  were  stirred  up  and  began  to 
burst  forth  from  their  territories.  The  Alamanni  began  to 
devastate  Gallia  and  Rhsetia  ;  the  Sarmatae  and  Quadi  Pan- 
nonia,  the  Picts  and  Saxons,  Scots,  and  Attacotti  constantly 
harassed  the  Britons."  2 

"  The  Franks  and  the  Saxons,  who  are  coterminous  with 
them,  were  ravaging  the  districts  of  Gallia  wherever  they 
could  effect  an  entrance  by  sea  or  land,  plundering  and 
burning,  and  murdering  all  the  prisoners  they  could  take."3 

Claudianus  asserts  that  the  Saxons  appeared  even  in  the 
Orkneys  :- 

"  The  Orcades  were  moist  from  the  slain  Saxon." 

These  are  but  a  few  of  many  allusions  to  the  same  effect 
which  might  be  quoted. 

That  the  swarms  of  Sueones  and  so-called  Saxons  and 
Franks,  seen  on  every  sea  of  Europe,  could  have  poured 
forth  from  a  small  country  is  not  possible.  Such  fleets  as 
they  possessed  could  only  have  come  from  a  country  densely 
covered  with  oak  forests.  We  must  come  to  the  conclusion 
that  Sueones,  Franks,  and  Saxons  were  seafaring  tribes  be- 
longing to  one  people.  The  Roman  writers  did  not  seem  to 
know  the  precise  locality  inhabited  by  these  people. 

1  Orat.  1.  4> pay KOI  Kal  ^d^oves  riav  virep 
rbv    'Pfivoif   Kal   rrjv    kffvfptav   6d\arrav 
fdvajv  TO  yuaxi/ucoTara. 

2  "  Hoc  tempore  velut  per  univcrsum 
orbem    Romanum    bellicum    cauentibus 
buccinis,  excitfe  gentes  saevissimai  Hniites 
sibi      proximos     persultabant.       Gal  lias 
Rhretiasque  simul  Alamanui  populaban- 
tur  :     Sarmata;,     Pannonias    et    Quadi  ; 
1'icti,  Saxonesque,  et  Scoti,  et  Attacotti 
liritannos  a-rnnmis   vexavere  rnntinuis  " 
(Uernni  (ifstamni,  lib.  xxvi.  s.  4). 

3  "  Gallicanos  vero  tractus  Franci,  et 
Saxones  iisdem  confines,  quo  quisque 
erumpere  potuit  terra  vel  mari,  prxdis 
acerbis  inceudiisque  et  captivorum  fu- 
neribus  hominum  violabant  "  (Ammianus 
Marcellinus,  d.  circ.  400,  lib.  xxvii.  c.  8, 

"  Maduerunt  Saxone  fuso 
Orcades  ;     incaluit    Pictorum    sanguine 

Thule  ; 

Scotorum  cumulos  flevit  glacialis  lerne." 
i  L)e  Cons.  Hon.  iv.  31.) 


It  would  appear  that  these  tribes  must  have  come  from  a 
country  further  eastward  than  the  Roman  provinces,  and  that 
as  they  came  with  ships,  their  home  must  have  been  on  the 
shores  of  the  Baltic,  the  Cattegat,  and  Norway ;  in  fact, 
precisely  the  country  which  the  numerous  antiquities  point 
to  as  inhabited  by  an  extremely  warlike  and  maritime  race, 
which  had  great  intercourse  with  the  Greek  and  Roman  world. 

The  dates  given  by  the  Greek  and  Roman  writers  of  the 
maritime  expeditions,  invasions,  and  settlements  of  the  so- 
called  Saxons  and  Franks  agree  perfectly  with  the  date  of  the 
objects  found  in  the  North,  among  which  are  numerous  Roman 
coins,  and  remarkable  objects  of  Roman  and  Greek  art,  which 
must  have  been  procured  either  by  the  peaceful  intercourse  of 
trade  or  by  war.  To  this  very  day  thousands  upon  thousands 
of  graves  have  been  preserved  in  the  North,  belonging  to  the 
time  of  the  invasions  of  these  Northmen,  and  to  an  earlier 
period.  From  them  no  other  inference  can  be  drawn  than 
that  the  country  and  islands  of  the  Baltic  were  far  more 
densely  populated  than  any  part  of  central  and  western 
Europe  and  Great  Britain,  since  the  number  of  these  earlier 
graves  in  those  countries  is  much  smaller. 

Every  tumulus  described  by  antiquaries  as  a  Saxon  or 
Frankish  grave  is  the  counterpart  of  a  Northern  grave,  thus 
showing  conclusively  the  common  origin  of  the  people. 

Wherever  graves  of  the  same  type  are  found  in  other 
countries  we  have  the  invariable  testimony,  either  of  the 
Roman  or  Greek  writers  of  the  Frankish  and  English 
Chronicles  or  of  the  Sagas,  to  show  that  the  people  of  the 
North  had  been  in  the  country  at  one  time  or  another. 

The  conclusion  is  forced  upon  us  that  in  time  the  North 
became  over-populated,  and  an  outlet  was  necessary  for  the 
spread  of  its  people. 

The  story  of  the  North  is  that  of  all  countries  whose 
inhabitants  have  spread  and  conquered,  in  order  to  find  new- 
fields  for  their  energy  and  over-population  ;  in  fact,  the  very 
course  the  progenitors  of  the  English-speaking  peoples  adopted 
in  those  days  is  precisely  the  one  which  has  been  followed  by 
their  descendants  in  England  and  other  countries  for  the  last 


three  hundred  years. 


It  is  certain  that  the  Franks  could  not  have  lived  on  the 
coast  of  Frisia,  as  they  did  later  on,  for  we  know  that  the 
country  of  the  Rhine  was  held  by  the  Romans,  and,  besides, 
as  we  have  already  seen,  Julian  refers  to  the  Franks  and 
Saxons  as  dwelling  above  the  Rhine.  Moreover,  till  they 
had  to  give  up  their  conquests,  no  mention  is  made  by  the 
Romans  of  native  seafaring  tribes  inhabiting  the  shores  of 
their  northern  province,  except  the  Veiieti,  and  they  would 
have  certainly  tried  to  subjugate  the  roving  seamen  that 
caused  them  so  much  trouble  in  their  newly-acquired  pro- 
vinces if  they  had  been  within  their  reach. 

From  the  Roman  writers,  who  have  been  partially  confirmed 
by  archaeology,  we  know  that  the  tribes  which  inhabited  the 
country  to  which  they  give  the  vague  name  of  Gerniania  were 
not  seafaring  people  nor  possessed  of  any  civilisation.  The 
invaders  of  Britain,  of  the  Gallic  and  of  the  Mediterranean 
coasts  could  therefore  not  have  been  the  German  tribes  referred 
to  by  the  Roman  writers,  who,  as  we  see  from  Julius  Cttsar 
and  other  Roman  historians,  were  very  far  from  possessing  the 
civilisation  which  we  know,  from  the  antiquities,  to  have 
existed  in  the  North. 

"  Their  whole  life  is  devoted  to  hunting  and  warlike 
pursuits.  From  childhood  they  pay  great  attention  to  toil 
and  hardiness  ;  they  bathe  all  together  in  the  rivers,  and  wear 
skins  or  small  reindeer  garments,  leaving  the  greater  part  ot 
their  bodies  naked."  l 

Tacitus,  in  recording  the  speech  of  Germanicus  to  his  troops 
before  the  battle  at  Idistavisus,  bears  witness  to  the  uncivilised 
character  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  country. 

"  The  huge  targets,  the  enormous  spears  of  the  barbarians 
could  never  be  wielded  against  trunks  of  trees  and  thickets 
of  undenvood  shooting  up  from  the  ground,  like  Roman  swords 
and  javelins,  and  armour  fitting  the  body  ....  the  Germans 
had  neither  helmet  nor  coat  of  mail;  their  bucklers  were  not 
even  strengthened  with  leather,  but  mere  contextures  of  twigs 

1  " 

Vita  omnis  in  venationibus  at<|ue  in 
studiis  rei  militaris  consistit.  Al>  parvulis 
labor!  ac  duritise  student  ...  in  Hu- 
minibus  proroiscue  perluuntur  ft  jielli-  | 

bus  aut  parvis  rhenonuin  tegimentis 
utuntur  magn.t  corporis  parte  nuda  " 
(Cresar  De  Bello  Gallico,  vi.  21). 

•<SAX"  A\I)  "FHAKKI."  1 ."» 

Mini  boards  of  no  substance  daubed  over  with  paint.  Their 
first  rank  was  to  a  certain  extent  armed  with  pikes,  the  rest  had 
only  stakes  burnt  at  the  ends  or  short  darts." 1 

Now  compare  these  descriptions  with  the  magnificent 
archaeology  of  the  North  of  that  period — as  seen  in  these 
volumes — from  which  we  learn  that  the  tribes  who  inhabited 
the  shores  of  the  Baltic  and  the  present  Scandinavia  had  at 
the  time  the  above  was  written  reached  a  high  degree  of  civili- 
sation. We  find  in  their  graves  and  hoards,  coins  of  the  early 
Eoman  Empire  not  in  isolated  instances,  but  constantly  and 
in  large  numbers,  and  deposited  side  by  side  with  such  objects 
as  coats  of  mail,  damascened  swords  and  other  examples  of 
articles  of  highly  artistic  workmanship. 

Three  kinds  of  swords  are  often  mentioned  by  the  Northmen 
—the  moekir,  the  sverd,  and  the  sax,  while  among  the  spears 
there  is  one  called  frakki,  or  frakka. 

The  double-edged  sword  was  the  one  that  was  in  use  among 
the  Romans,  and  they,  seeing  bodies  of  men  carrying  a  weapon 
unlike  theirs — single-edged,  and  called  Sax—  may  have  named 
them  after  it,  and  the  Franks,  in  like  manner,  may  have  been 
called  after  their  favourite  weapon,  the  Frakki  ;  but  we  see 
that  neither  the  sax  nor  the  frakki  was  confined  to  one  tribe 
in  the  North.  There  is  a  Saxland  in  the  Sagas — a  small 
country  situated  east  of  the  peninsula  of  Jutland,  about  the 
present  Holstein — a  land  tributary  to  the  Danish  or  Swedish 
Kings  from  the  earliest  times,  but  far  from  possessing  the 
war-like  archeology  of  the  North,  it  appears  to  have  held  an 
insignificant  place  among  the  neighbouring  tribes. 

In  the  Bayeux  tapestry  the  followers  of  William  the  Con- 
queror were  called  Franci,  and  they  always  have  been  recognised 
as  coming  from  the  North. 

The  very  early  finds  prove  that  the  Sax  was  not  rare,  for  it 
occurs  in  different  parts  of  the  North  and  islands  of  the  Baltic. 
The  different  swords  and  spears  used  were  so  common  and  so 

1  "  Nee  enim  immensa  barbarorum 
scuta,  enormes  hastas,  inter  truucos  ar- 
horum  et  enata  humo  virofulta 

mano,  non  galeani,  ne  scuta  quidem  t'errw 
nervo  ve  finnata,  sed  vimiuum  textus  vcl 
tennes  furatas  colore  tabulas,  primatu  ut- 

haheri  quam  pila  et  gladins  rt  hserentia       ctmque  adem  hastatam,  caeteris  procenata 
rnriniri  tefmina  ....  nnn  loricam  (it-r-       ant  lirevia  tela  "  (Tacitus  Annals,  ii.  14). 


well  known  to  everybody,  that  we  have  no  special  description 
of  them  in  the  Sagas,  except  of  their  ornamentation ;  but  in 
the  Saga  of  Grettir  there  is  a  passage  which  shows  that  the 
Sax  was  single-edged. 

Gretti  went  to  a  farm  in  Iceland  to  slay  the  Bondi  Thor- 
bjorn  and  his  son  Arnor.  We  read- 

"  When  Gretti  saw  that  the  young  man  was  within  reach  he 
lifted  his  sax  high  into  the  air,  and  struck  Arnor's  head  with 
its  back,  so  that  his  head  was  broken  and  he  died.  Thereupon 
he  killed  the  father  with  his  sax." 

Whatever  may  be  the  origin  of  local  names  employed  by 
the  Roman  writers  we  must  look  to  the  North  for  the  maritime 
tribes  described  by  them ;  there  we  shall  find  the  home 
of  the  earlier  English  people,  to  whose  numerous  warlike 
and  ocean-loving  instincts  we  owe  the  transformation  which 
took  place  in  Britain,  and  the  glorious  inheritance  which  they 
have  left  to  their  descendants,  scattered  over  many  parts  of 
the  world,  in  whom  we  recognise  to  this  day  many  of  the  very 
same  traits  of  character  which  their  ancestors  possessed. 



The  Notitia — Probable  origin  of  the  name  England — Jutland — The  language 
of  the  North  and  of  England — Early  Northern  kings  in  England — Danes 
and  Sueones — Mythical  accounts  of  the  settlements  of  England. 

BRITAIN  being  an  island  could  only  be  settled  or  conquered 
by  seafaring  tribes,  just  in  the  same  way  as  to-day  distant 
lands  can  only  be  conquered  by  nations  possessing  ships. 
From  the  Roman  writers  we  have  the  only  knowledge  we 
possess  in  regard  to  the  tribes  inhabiting  the  country  to 
which  they  gave  the  vague  name  of  German ia.  From  the 
Roman  records  we  find  that  these  tribes  were  not  civilised 
and  that  they  were  not  a  seafaring  people. 

Unfortunately  the  Roman  accounts  we  have  of  their  conquest 
and  occupation  of  Britain,  of  its  population  and  inhabitants, 
are  very  meagre  and  unsatisfactory,  and  do  not  help  us  much 
to  ascertain  how  the  settlement  in  Britain  by  the  people  of  the 
North  began.  Our  lack  of  information  is  most  probably  due 
to  the  simple  reason  that  the  settlement,  like  all  settlements 
of  a  new  country,  was  a  very  gradual  one,  a  few  men  coming 
over  in  the  first  instance  for  the  purpose  of  trade  either 
with  Britons  or  Romans,  or  coming  from  the  over-populated 
Northto  settle  in  a  country  which  the  paucity  of  archaeological 
remains  shows  to  have  been  thinly  occupied.  The  Romans 
made  no  objection  to  these  new  settlers,  who  did  not  prove 
dangerous  to  their  power  on  the  island,  but  brought  them 
commodities,  such  as  furs,  &c.,  from  the  North. 

We  find  from  the  Roman  records  that  the  so-called  Saxons 
had  founded  colonies  or  had  settlements  in  Belgium  and 

Another   important  fact  we  know  from  the  records  relating 

VOL.    I.  O 



to  Britain  is  that  during  the  Roman  occupation  of  the  island 
the  Saxons  had  settlements  in  the  country ;  but  how  they  came 
hither  we  are  not  told. 

In  the  Notitia  Dignitatem  utriusque  imperil,  a  sort  of  cata- 
logue or  "  Army  List,"  compiled  towards  the  latter  end  of  the 
fourth  century,  occurs  the  expression,  "  Comes  litoris  Saxonici 
per  Britanuias  "  —Count  of  the  Saxon  Shore  in  Britain.  Within 
this  litus  Saxonicuni  the  following  places  are  mentioned  :— 
Othona,  said  to  be  "  close  by  Hastings  " ;  Dubris,  said  to  be 
Dover ;  Rutupiae,  Richborough  ;  Branodimum,  Brancaster  ; 
Regulbium,  Reculvers  ;  Lemannis,  West  Hythe  ;  Garianno, 
Yarmouth  ;  Anderida,  Pevensey ;  Portus  Adurni,  Shoreham  or 

This  shows  that  the  so-called  Saxons  were  settled  in  Britain 
before  the  Notitia  was  drawn  up,  and  at  a  date  very  much 
earlier  than  has  been  assigned  by  some  modern  historians. 

The  hypothesis  that  the  expression  "  litus  Saxonicum  "  is 
derived  from  the  enemy  to  whose  ravages  it  was  exposed 
seems  improbable.  Is  it  not  much  more  probable  that  the 
"  litus  Saxonicum  per  Britannias "  must  mean  the  shore 
of  the  country  settled,  not  attacked,  by  Saxons?  The  mere 
fact  of  their  attacking  the  shore  would  not  have  given  rise  to 
the  name  applied  to  it  had  they  not  settled  there,  for  I 
maintain  that  there  is  no  instance  in  the  whole  of  Roman 
literature  of  a  country  being  named  after  the  people  who 
attacked  it.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  the  Saxons  had  landed  and 
formed  settlements  on  the  British  coasts,  the  origin  of  the 
name  "  Litus  Saxonicum  "  is  easiiv  understood. 


Some  time  after  the  Romans  relinquished  Britain  we  find 
that  part  of  the  island  becomes  known  as  England ;  and,  to 
make  the  subject  still  more  confusing,  the  people  composing 
its  chief  population  are  called  Saxons  by  the  chroniclers  and 
later  historians,  the  name  given  to  them  by  the  Romans. 

That  the  history  of  the  people  called  Saxons  was  by  no  means 
certain  is  seen  in  the  fact  that  Witikiud,  a  monk  of  the  tenth 
century,  gives  the  following  account  of  what  was  then  con- 
sidered to  be  their  origin  *  :— 

1   "  Nam  super  hac  re  varia  opmio  est, 
aliis   arbitrantibus  <\e   Danis  Northman- 

nisque    originem    duxisse  Saxones,    aliis 
autem     aestimantibus,    ut     ipse    adoles- 

ORJHTX  or  .V.I.I//;  KMil.MfD.  1!) 

"  On  this  there  are  various  opinions,  some  thinking  tlut 
the  Saxons  had  their  origin  from  the  Danes  and  Northmen  ; 
others,  as  I  heard  some  one  maintain  when  a  young  man, 
that  they  are  derived  from  the  Greeks,  because  they  themselves 
used  to  say  the  Saxons  were  the  remnant  of  the  Macedonian 
army,  which,  having  followed  Alexander  the  Great,  were  by 
his  premature  death  dispersed  all  over  the  world." 

As  to  how  Britain  came  to  be  called  England  the  different 
legends  given  by  the  monkish  writers  are  contradictory. 

The  SJcjoldiwga  Saga,  which  is  often  mentioned  in  other 
Sagas,  and  which  contains  a  record  down  to  the  early  kings 
of  Denmark,  is  unfortunately  lost :  it  would,  no  doubt,  have 
thrown  great  light  on  the  lives  of  early  chiefs  who  settled  in 
Britain ;  but  from  some  fragments  which  are  given  in  this 
work ,  and  which  are  supposed  to  belong  to  it,  we  see  that 
several  Danish  and  Swedish  kings  claimed  to  have  possessions 
in  England  long  before  the  supposed  coming  of  the  Danes. 

Some  writers  assert  that  the  new  settlers  gave  to  their  new 
home  in  Britain  the  name  of  the  country  which  they  had  left, 
called  Angeln,  and  which  they  claim  to  be  situated  in  the 
southern  part  of  Jutland  ;  but  besides  the  Angeln  in  Jutland 
there  is  in  the  Cattegat  an  Engelholm,  which  is  geographi- 
cally far  more  important,  situated  in  the  land  known  as  the 
Vikin  of  the  Sagas,  a  great  Viking  and  warlike  land,  from 
which  the  name  Viking  may  have  been  derived,  filled  with 
graves  and  antiquities  of  the  iron  age.  There  are  also  other 
Engeln  in  the  present  Sweden. 

In  the  whole  literature  of  the  North  such  a  name  as  Engeln 
is  unknown  ;  it  may  have  been,  perhaps,  a  local  name. 

In  the  Sagas  the  term  England  was  applied  to  a  portion 
only  of  Britain,  the  inhabitants  of  which  were  called  Etiylar, 
Enskirmenn.  Britain  itself  is  called  Bretland,  and  the  people 

"Ongulsey  (Angelsey)  is  one  third  of  Bretland  (Wales)" 
(Magnus  Barefbot's  Saga,  c.  11). 

cental  us  audivi  ijuendam  praedicantem  |  <|iii  secutus  magnum  Alexandrum  hi- 
de Graeeis.  quia  ipsi  dicerent,  Siixone  i  mat nra  morte  ipsius  per  totuni  orbem 
reli<iuias  fuisse  Macedonia  exercitus  |  sit  dispersus "  (Ann.  lib.  1). 

c  2 


Another  part  of  the  country  was  called  Nordimbraland. 

It  is  an  important  fact  that  throughout  the  Saga  literature 
describing  the  expeditions  of  the  Northmen  to  England  not  a 
single  instance  is  mentioned  of  their  coming  in  contact  with  a 
people  called  Saxons,  which  shows  that  such  a  name  in  Britain 
was  unknown  to  the  people  of  the  North.  Nor  is  any  part  of 
England  called  Saxland. 

To  make  the  confusion  greater  than  it  is,  some  modern 
historians  make  the  so-called  Saxons,  who  were  supposed  -to 
have  come  over  with  the  mythical  Hengist  and  others,  a 
distinct  race  from  the  Northmen,  who  afterwards  continued  to 
land  in  the  country. 

In  the  Sagas  we  constantly  find  that  the  people  of  England 
are  not  only  included  among  the  Northern  lands,  but  that  the 
warriors  of  one  country  are  helping  the  other.  In  several 
places  we  find,  and  from  others  we  infer,  that  the  language  in 
both  countries  was  very  similar. 

"  All  sayings  in  the  Northern  (norraen)  tongue  in  which  there 
is  truth  begin  when  the  Tyrkir  and  the  Asia-men  settled  in 
the  North.  For  it  is  truly  told  that  the  tongue  which  we  call 
Norrsen  came  with  them  to  the  North,  and  it  went  through 
Saxland,  Denmark,  Sweden,  Norway,  and  part  of  England " 
(Rimbegla,  iii.  c.  i.). 

"  We  are  of  one  tongue,  though  one  of  the  two,  or  in  some 
respects  both,  are  now  much  changed  "  (Prose  Edda,  ii.) 

"Then  ruled  over  England  King  Ethelred,  son  of  Edgar 
(979).  He  was  a  good  chief;  he  sat  this  winter  in  London. 
The  tongue  in  England,  as  well  as  in  Norway  and  Denmark, 
was  then  one,  but  it  changed  in  England  when  William  the 
Bastard  won  England.  Thenceforth  the  tongue  of  Valland 
(France)  was  used  in  England,  for  he  (William)  was  born 
there  "  (Gunnlaug  Ormstunga's  Saga,  c.  7). 

That  the  language  of  the  North  should  have  taken  a  footing 
in  a  great  part  of  England  is  due,  no  doubt,  to  the  continuous 
flow  of  immigration,  from  the  northern  mother  country,  which 
entirely  swamped  the  former  native  or  British  element. 

The  story  given  in  the  English  or  Irish  chronicles  of  the 
appearance  of  the  Danes,  in  A.D.  785,  when  their  name  is  first 
mentioned,  is  as  little  trustworthy  as  that  of  the  settlement  of 

THE  DANES  BET\VKK\  T.I ( TTI  'X  .1  \l>  <  'HA  II I. KMAGNE.        '1  \ 

England,  and  hears  the  appearance  of  contradiction  and 
confusion  in  regard  to  names  of  people  and  facts. 

We  must  remember  that  the  Sueones  are  not  mentioned  from 
the  time  of  Tacitus  to  that  of  Charlemagne  (772-814),  and 
certainly  they  had  not  disappeared  in  the  meantime. 

What  were  the  Danes  doing  with  their  mighty  fleets  before 
this?  Had  their  ships  been  lying  in  port  for  centuries? 
Had  they  been  built  for  simple  recreation  and  the  pleasure  of 
looking  at  them,  or  did  their  maritime  power  arise  at  once  as 
if  by  magic  ?  Such  an  hypothesis  cannot  stand  the  test  of 
reasoning.  The  turning  of  a  population  into  a  seafaring 
nation  is  the  work  of  time.  Where  in  the  history  of  the  world 
can  we  find  a  parallel  to  this  story  of  a  people  suddenly 
appearing  with  immense  navies  ?  Let  us  compare  by  analogy 
the  statement  of  the  chronicles  with  what  might  happen  to 
the  history  of  England  in  the  course  of  time. 

v  O 

Suppose  that  for  some  reason  the  previous  history  of  England 
were  lost,  with  the  exception  of  a  fragment  which  spoke  of  her 
enormous  fleet  of  to-day.  Could  it  be  reasonably  supposed 
that  this  great  maritime  power  was  the  creation  of  a  few  years  ? 

A  few  years  after  the  time  fixed  as  that  of  their  first  supposed 
appearance  we  find  these  very  Danes  swarming  everywhere  witli 
their  fleets  and  warriors,  not  only  in  England,  but  in  Gaul,  in 
Brittany,  up  the  Seine,  the  Garonne,  the  Rhine,  the  Elbe,  on 
the  coasts  of  Spain,  and  further  eastward  in  the  Mediterranean. 

The  Sueones,  or  Swedes,  reappear  at  the  close  of  the  eighth 
and  commencement  of  the  ninth  centuries  by  the  side  of  the 
Danes,  and  both  called  themselves  Northmen.  Surely  the 
maritime  power  of  the  Sueones,  described  by  Tacitus,  could 
not  have  been  destroyed  immediately  after  his  death,  only  to 
reappear  in  the  time  of  Charlemagne,  when  it  again  becomes 
prominent  in  the  Frankish  annals. 

A  remarkable  fact  not  to  be  overlooked  is  that,  in  the  time 
of  Charlemagne,  the  Franks  and  Saxons  were  not  a  seafaring 
people,  though  their  countries  had  an  extensive  coast  with 
deep  rivers.  The  Frankish  annals  never  mention  a  Frank  or 
Saxon  fleet  attacking  the  fleets  of  the  Northmen,  or  preventing 
them  from  ascending  their  streams,  though  Charlemagne 
ordered  ships  to  be  built  in  order  to  resist  their  incursions. 


While  the  country  of  the  Saxons  was  being  conquered  by 
this  Emperor,  we  find  that  the  Saxons  themselves  had  no 
vessels  on  the  Elbe  or  Weser  in  which,  if  defeated,  they  could 
retire  in  safety,  or  by  help  of  which  they  could  prevent  the 
army  of  their  enemies  from  crossing  their  streams.  Such 
tactics  were  constantly  used  by  the  Northmen  in  their  in- 
vasions of  ancient  Gaul,  Britain,  Germania,  Spain,  Arc. 

Thus  we  see  that,  though  hardly  more  than  three  hundred 
years  had  elapsed  since  the  time  when,  according  to  the 
Roman  writers,  the  fleets  of  the  Franks  and  Saxons  swarmed 
over  every  sea  of  Europe,  not  a  vestige  of  their  former 
maritime  power  remained  in  the  time  of  Charlemagne,  and 
the  Saxons  were  still  occupying  the  same  country  as  in  the 
days  of  Ptolemy. 

Pondering  over  the  above  important  facts,  the  question 
arises,  Were  not  the  Romans  mistaken  in  giving  the  names  of 
Saxons  and  Franks  to  the  maritime  tribes  of  whose  origin, 

O          ' 

country,  and  homes  they  knew  nothing,  but  who  came  to 
attack  their  shores  ?  Were  not  these  so-called  Saxons  and 
Franks  in  reality  tribes  of  Sueones,  Swedes,  Danes,  Norwe- 
gians ?  The  Romans  knew  none  of  the  countries  of  these 
people.  It  seems  strange,  if  not  incredible,  to  rind  two 
peoples,  whose  country  had  a  vast  sea-coast  and  deep  rivers, 
totally  abandoning  the  seafaring  habits  possessed  by  their 

It  cannot  be  doubted  that  Ivar  Vidfadmi,  after  him  Harald 
Hilditonn,  then  Sigurd  Hring  and  Ragnar  Lodbrok  and  his 
sons,  and  probably  some  of  the  Danish  and  Swedish  kings 
before  them,  made  expeditions  to  England,  and  gained  and 
held  possessions  there.  Several  distinct  records,  having  no 
connection  with  each  other,  being  parts  of  different  Sagas  and 
histories,  with  the  archaeology,  form  the  evidence. 

"Ivar  Vidfadmi  (wide-fathomer)  subdued  the  whole  of 
Sviaveldi  (the  Swedish  realm) ;  he  also  got  Danaveldi  (Danish 
realm)  and  a  large  part  of  Saxland,  and  the  whole  of  Austrriki 
(Eastern  realm,  including  Russia,  &c.)  and  the  fifth  part  of 
England.  From  his  kin  have  come  the  kings  of  Denmark  and 
the  kings  of  Sweden  who  have  had  sole  power  in  these  lands" 
(Ynglinga  Saga,  c.  45). 


The  above  is  corroborated  by  another  quite  independent 

"Ivar  Vidfadmi  ruled  England  till  his  death-day.  As 
he  lay  on  his  death-bed  he  said  he  wanted  to  be  carried  to 
where  the  land  was  exposed  to  attacks,  and  that  he  hoped 
those  who  landed  there  would  not  be  victorious.  When  he 
died  it  happened  as  he  said,  and  he  was  mound-laid.  It  is 
said  by  many  men  that  when  King  Harald  Sigurdsson  came 
to  England  he  landed  where  Ivar's  mound  was,  and  he  was 
slain  there.  When  Villijalm  Bastard  came  to  the  land  he 
broke  open  the  mound  of  Ivar  and  saw  that  the  corpse  was  not 
rotten  ;  he  made  a  large  pyre,  and  had  Ivar  burned  on  it ; 
then  he  went  up  on  land  and  got  the  victory "  (Ragnar 
Lodbrok's  Saga,  c.  19). 

We  find  that  not  only  did  the  Norwegians  call  themselves 
Northmen,  but  that  both  Danes  and  Sueones  were  called 
Northmen  in  the  Frankish  Chronicles.1 

"The  Danes  and  Sueones,  whom  we  call  Northmen,  occupy 
both  the  northern  shore  and  all  its  islands." 

So  also  Nigellus  (in  the  reign  of  Louis  Le  Debonnaire).2 

"  The  Danes  also  after  the  manner  of  the  Franks  are  called 
by  the  name  of  Manni." 

The  time  came  when  the  people  of  the  North,  continuing 
their  expeditions  to  Britain,  attacked  their  own  kinsmen. 
After  the  departure  of  the  Romans  the  power  of  the  new 
comers  increased,  and  as  they  became  more  numerous,  they 
became  more  and  more  domineering  :  the  subsequent  struggles 
were  between  a  sturdy  race  that  had  settled  in  the  country 
and  people  of  their  own  kin,  and  not  with  Britons,  who  had 
been  so  easily  conquered  by  the  Romans,  had  appealed  to 
them  afterwards  for  protection,  and  had  for  a  long  period 
been  a  subject  race.  It  is  not  easy  to  believe  that  the 
inhabitants  of  a  servile  Roman  province  could  suddenly 
become  stubborn  and  fierce  warriors,  nor  are  there  any 
antiquities  belonging  to  the  Britain  of  yore  which  bear 

1  "  Dani  et  Sueones,  quos  North- 
rnannos  vocamus,  et  Septentrionale  litus 
et  omnes  in  eo  insulas  tenent "  (Vita 
Caroli  Magni,  c.  12;  Eginhnrd,  historian 

and  friend  of  Charlemagne). 

-  "  Dani    more    quoque    Francisco    di- 
cnntnr  nomine  Manni." 


witness  to  a  fierce  and  warlike  character  displayed  by  the 
aboriginal  inhabitants. 

From  the  preceding  pages  we  see  that  Franks  and  Saxons 
are  continually  mentioned  together,  and  it  is  only  in  the 
North  we  can  find  antiquities  of  a  most  warlike  and  seafaring 
people,  who  must  have  formed  the  great  and  preponderating 
bulk  of  the  invading  host  who  conquered  Britain. 

Britain  after  a  continuous  immigration  from  the  North, 
which  lasted  several  hundred  years,  became  the  most  powerful 
colony  of  the  Northern  tribes,  several  of  whose  chiefs  claimed 
a  great  part  of  England  even  in  the  seventh  century.  After- 
wards she  asserted  her  independence,  though  she  did  not 
get  it  until  after  a  long  and  tedious  struggle  with  the  North, 
the  inhabitants  and  kings  of  which  continued  to  try  to  assert 
the  ancient  rights  their  forefathers  once  possessed.  Then  the 
time  came  when  the  land  upon  which  the  people  of  these 
numerous  tribes  had  settled  became  more  powerful  and  more 
populous  than  the  mother  country ;  a  case  which  has  found 
several  parallels  in  the  history  of  the  world.  To-day  the 
people  of  England  as  they  look  over  the  broad  Atlantic  may 
perhaps  discern  the  same  process  gradually  taking  place. 
In  the  people  of  the  United  States  of  North  America,  the 
grandest  and  most  colossal  state  founded  by  England  or 
any  other  country  of  which  we  have  any  historical  record,  we 
may  recognise  the  indomitable  courage,  the  energy  and  spirit 
which  was  one  of  the  characteristics  of  the  Northern  race  to 
whom  a  great  part  of  the  people  belong.  The  first  settlement 
of  the  country,  territory  by  territory,  State  by  State — the 
frontier  life  with  its  bold  adventures,  innumerable  dangers, 
fights,  struggles,  privations  and  heroism — is  the  grandest 
drama  that  has  ever  been  enacted  in  the  history  of  the  world. 
The  time  is  not  far  distant,  if  the  population  of  the  United 
States  and  Canada  increases  in  the  same  ratio  as  it  has  done  for 
more  than  a  hundred  years,  when  over  three  or  four  hundred 
millions  of  its  people  will  speak  the  English  tongue ;  and  I 
think  it  is  no  exaggeration  to  say  that  in  the  course  of  time 
one  hundred  millions  more  will  be  added,  from  Australia,  New 
Xcaland  and  other  colonies  which  to-day  form  part  of  the  British 
Empire,  but  which  are  destined  to  become  independent  nations. 

THE  MHMK  CUMK  l<'h'<>M  Till-:  I', LACK  SKI.  '2~> 

In  fact  we  hesitate  to  look  still  further  into  the  future  of  the 
English  race,  for  fear  of  being  accused  of  exaggeration. 

There  is  a  mythical  version  of  the  settlement  of  Britain 
contradictory  of  the  Roman  records.  This  version  is  that  of 
Gildas  whose  '  De  Excidio  Britannia,1 '  is  supposed  to  have 
been  composed  in  the  sixth  century  (560  A.D.),  and  whose 
statements  have  unfortunately  been  taken  by  one  historian 
after  the  other  as  a  true  history  of  Britain.  His  narrative, 
which  gives  an  account  of  the  first  arrival  of  the  Saxons  in 
Britain  and  the  numerous  wars  which  followed  their  invasion, 
has  been  more  or  less  copied  by  Nennius,  Bede  and  sub- 
sequent chroniclers,  whose  writings  are  a  mass  of  glaring 
contradictions,  diffuse  and  intricate,  for  they  contain  names 
which  appear  to  have  been  invented  by  the  writers  and  which 
cannot  be  traced  in  the  language  of  those  times,  while  the 
dates  assigned  for  the  landing  of  the  so-called  Saxons  do  not 
agree  with  one  another. 

The  historians  who  use  Gildas  as  an  authority  and  try  to 
believe  his  account  of  the  settlement  of  Britain  by  Hengist 
and  Horsa  (the  stallion  and  the  mare)  are  obliged,  in  order  to 
explain  away  the  Roman  records,  to  give  a  most  extraordinary 
interpretation  to  the  Notitia. 

AVe  are  all  aware  that  the  people  of  every  country  like  to 
trace  their  origin  or  history  as  far  back  as  possible,  and  that 
legends  often  form  part  of  the  fabric  of  those  histories.  The 
early  chroniclers,  who  were  credulous  and  profoundly  ignorant 
of  the  world,  took  these  fables  for  facts,  or  they  may  have 
possibly  been  incorporated  in  the  text  of  their  supposed  works 
after  their  time.  The  description  of  the  settlement  of  a 
country  must  be  founded  on  facts  which  can  bear  the  test  of 
searching  criticism  if  they  are  to  be  believed  and  adopted  ; 
(Hildas  and  his  copyists  cannot  stand  that  test,  and  the  Roman 
records,  as  corroborated  by  the  archaeology  and  literature  of 
the  North  and  the  archeology  of  England,  must  be  taken  as 
the  correct  ones. 

The  mythological  literature  of  the  North  bears  evidence 
of  a  belief  prevalent  among  the  people,  that  their  ancestors 
migrated  at  a  remote  period  from  the  shores  of  the  Black  SIM. 
through  south-western  Russia,  to  the  shores  of  the  Baltic. 


This  belief  seems  to  be  supported  by  u  variety  of  evidence. 
Herodotus  describes  a  people  on  the  Tanais,  the  Budini,  as 
being  blue-eyed  and  yellow-haired,  with  houses  built  of  wood, 
his  description  of  the  walls  reminding  one  of  the  charac- 
teristics of  the  Danavirki  (Herodotus,  IV.  21,  108,  100).  One 
of  his  tribes,  the  Tliysagetw,  may  possibly  be  indicated  in  the 
Thursar  of  the  Voluspa,  &c. 

When  we  appeal  to  Archaeology,  we  find  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  the  Black  Sea,  near  to  the  old  Greek  settlement,  graves 
similar  to  those  of  the  North,  containing  ornaments  and  other 
relics  also  remarkably  like  those  found  in  the  ancient  graves  of 
Scandinavia.  The  Runes  of  the  North  remind  us  strikingly 
of  the  characters  of  Archaic  Greek.  If  we  follow  the  river 
Dnieper  upwards  from  its  mouth  in  the  Black  Sea,  we  see  in  the 
museums  of  Kief  and  Smolensk  many  objects  of  types  exactly 
similar  to  those  found  in  the  graves  of  the  North.  When  we 
reach  the  Baltic  we  find  on  its  eastern  shores  the  Gardariki  of 
the  Sagas,  where,  we  are  told,  the  Odin  of  the  North  placed 
one  of  his  sons,  and  on  the  southern  shores  many  specimens 
have  been  discovered  similar  to  those  obtained  in  Scandinavia. 

In  the  following  chapters  the  reader  will  be  struck  by  the 
similarity  of  the  customs  of  the  Norsemen  with  those  of  the 
ancient  Greeks  as  recorded  by  Homer  and  Herodotus  ;  for  ex- 
ample, the  horse  was  very  much  sacrificed  in  the  North,  and 
Herodotus,  describing  the  Massagetae,  says  : 

« ri 

They  (the  Massagetae)  worship  the  sun  only  of  all  the  gods, 
and  sacrifice  horses  to  him"  (I.  216). 

In  regard  to  the  Jutes,  Jutland  =  Jots,  Jotnar ;  Jotland, 
Jotunheim,  we  find  them  from  the  Sagas  to  be  a  very  ancient 
land  and  people,  and  meet  several  countries  bearing  kindred 
names — even  to  this  dav  we  have  Goteborer,  in  which  the  G  is 

ml  O  ' 

pronounced  as  English  Y. 

From  the  Roman,  Greek,  Frankish,  Russian,  English,  and 
Arabic  records,  we  must  come  to  the  conclusion  that  the 
"  Viking  Age "  lasted  from  about  the  second  century  of  our 
era  to  about  the  middle  of  the  twelfth  without  interruption, 
hence  the  title  given  to  the  work  which  deals  with  the  history 
and  customs  of  our  English  forefathers  during  that  period. 



The  three  poems  giving  the  mythology  and  cosmogony  of  the  North — The 
Voluspa,  Vafthrudnismal,  Grinmismal,  the  Asar,  Jotnar,  and  Thursar— 
Odin  and  Vafthnulnir — The  nine  worlds — Before  the  creation — The 
origin  of  the  Hrim  Thursar — Birth  of  Ymir — Birth  of  Odin — -Vili  and 
Ve — The  ash  Yggdrasil — The  well  of  wisdom — Hel,  one  of  the  nine 
worlds — The  bridge  Bifrost  —  Heimdall  —  Bergelmir  born  before  the 
creation — The  Jotun — Ymir  slain  by  Odin — The  deluge  of  blood — 
Creation  of  ihe  world — Divisions  of  time — End  of  the  world — A  new  world. 

IN  the  three  poems  called  Voluspa,  Vafthrudnismal,  and  Grirn- 
nismal,  we  have  the  earliest  accounts  of  the  cosmogony  and 
of  the  mythology  of  the  people  of  the  North.  The  grand 
central  figure  in  the  mythology  is  Odin.  He  and  his  kin 
formed  the  people  known  as  Asar  in  the  lore  and  literature 
of  the  North,  and  were  treated  as  gods.  These  poems  are  too 
long  to  be  given  here  in  full,  but  in  the  following  pages  we 
have  endeavoured,  by  means  of  extracts,  to  give  a  more  or 
less  consecutive  account  of  the  subjects  with  which  they  deal. 

The  Voluspa  was  an  inspired  poem  of  a  Volva  or  Sibyl,1  and 
embodies  the  records  of  the  creation  of  the  present  world,  and 
of  the  time  prior  to  it ;  of  the  various  races,  their  origin  and 
history,  and  of  the  chaos  and  destruction  which  finally  will 
overtake  mankind. 

It  is  in  some  places  so  obscure,  that  if  it  had  not  been 
partly  explained  by  the  later  Edda,  and  had  light  thrown 
upon  it  by  the  sagas  and  ancient  laws,  it  would  be  impossible 
to  understand  its  meaning ;  and  even  now  it  is  most  difficult, 
and  in  some  places  impossible  to  fully  comprehend  several  of  its 
mythical  parts,  some  of  which  will  always  remain  enigmatical. 

Vafthrudnismal  is  especially  interesting  as  compared  with 

Voluspa  is  derived  from  rolva,  sybil 
and  spa,  foretelling.  The  name  rolva 
seems  to  be  derived  from  coir  (start',  stick ). 

as  \ve  see  that  the  sibyls  or  prophetesses 
used  tn  walk  from  place  to  place  with  a 


Tilt!  MYTHOLOGY  OF  Till-:  XORTILMh'X. 

the  Voluspa,  with  much  of  which  it  corresponds,  and  some 
part  of  which  it  amplifies. 

The  mythical  and  the  real  are  so  intermingled  that  it  is 
often  impossible  to  distinguish  the  one  from  the  other. 

In  the  beginning-  we  are  confronted  by  a  chief  named  Odin, 
the  son  of  Bor,  who  lived  near  the  Tanais  (the  river  Don)  not 
far  fiom  the  Pains  Meeotis  (the  Sea  of  Azof),  and  there  we 
find  one  Asgard,  which  in  all  probability  had  its  original  in 
some  real  locality. 

Besides  Asar  and  Jotnar,  many  other  tribes  are  mentioned 
which  can  hardly  be  regarded  as  altogether  mythical,  some 
of  which  may  have  inhabited  the  far  north  of  the  ancient 
Sweden,  or  part  of  the  present  Russia  and  Scandinavia ;  the 
Thursar,  who  were  also  called  Hrimthursar  (hoar  frost),  and 
the  Risar,  also  Bergrisar  (mountain  Risar),  appear  from  these 
names  to  have  lived  in  a  cold  mountainous  country,  possibly 
the  region  of  the  Ural  Mountains. 

Jotunheim,  the  chief  burgh  of  which  was  Utgard,  would 
appear  to  be  a  general,  vague  name  given  to  a  very  wide  extent 
of  country  not  embraced  in  Asaheini  (the  home  of  the  Asar). 
Jotunheim,  as  the  name  indicates,  was  the  home  or  country  of 
the  Jotnar  and  Thursar,  between  whom  and  the  Asar  there  was 
fierce  enmity. 

Some  of  the  Jotnar  were  considered  very  wise,  and  Odin,  as 
the  chief  of  the  Asar,  determined  to  go  in  disguise  to  Jotun- 
heim, the  home  of  the  Jotnar,  in  order  to  seek  out  the  Jotun 
Vafthrudnir1  (the  mighty  or  wise  in  riddles),  who  was  renowned 
for  his  knowledge.  The  song  begins  by  representing  Odin 
as  consulting  his  wife,  Frigg,  as  to  the  advisability  of  under- 
taking the  journey.  The  stanzas  which  follow  represent  Odin 
questioning  Vafthrudnir  in  his  search  for  knowledge  :— 

Then  went  Odin  {As  Odin  enters  he  sings — ) 

To  try  word-wisdom  Hail,  Vafthrudnir, 

Of  the  all-wise  Jotun.  I  have  come  into  thy  hall 

To  a  hall  he  came,  To  look  at  thyself; 

Owned  by  Ymir's  father ;  First  I  want  to  know, 

In  went  Ygg  at  once.2  If  thou  art  a  wise 

Or  an  all-wise  Jotun. 

1  Vafthrudnir.      Vaf  =  weave,  or  en- 
t angle  :    thnulnir  =  strong,   or  mighty  ; 
Vaftliriidiiir  =  niiglitv   in    riddles 

which  cannot  be  disentangled. 
'-'  The  awful  =  Odin. 




Who  is  the  man 

That  in  my  hall 

Speaks  to  me  ? 

Thou  shalt  not 

Get  out  of  it 

Unless  thou  art  the  wiser. 


1  am  called  Gagnrad,1 

I  have  now  come  from  my  walking 

Thirsty  to  thy  hall ; 

Needing  thy  bidding 

And  thy  welcome,  Jo  tun; 

Lon<'  time  have  I  travelled. 


Why  standing  on  the  floor 

Dost  thou  speak  to  me  ? 

Take  a  seat  in  the  hall. 

Then  we  shall  try 

Who  knows  more, 

The  guest  or  the  old  wise  one. 


When  a  poor  man 

Comes  to  a  rich  one 

Let  him  speak  useful  things   or  be 

silent ; 

Great  babbling 
I  think  turns  to  ill 
For  one  who  meets  a  cold-ribbed2 


We  are  told  in  the  Voluspa  that  Odin,  in  the  quest  of 
in  formation,  went  to  visit  the  Volva,  or  Sybil,  Heid,  who  was 
possessed  of  supernatural  powers  of  knowledge  and  foresight. 
She  asks  for  a  hearing  from  the  sons  of  Heimdal,  or  mankind, 
and  then  proceeds  to  tell  what  she  recollects : — 

I  remember  Jotnar 
Early  born, 
Who  of  yore 
Raised  me;3 

I  remember  nine  worlds, 

Nine  ividi* 

The  famous  world-tree  (Yggdrasil) 

Beneath  the  earth. 

The  nine  worlds  were — 1,  Muspel ;  2,  Asgard ;  3,  Vana- 
heim  (home  of  the  Vanir) ;  4,  Midgard  ;  5,  Alfheim  (world  of 
the  Alfar);  6,  Mannheim  (home  of  men);  7,  Jotimheim  (the 
home  of  the  Jotnar) ;  8,  Hel ;  9,  Niflheim. 

The  first  beginnings  of  all  things  were  apparently  as  obscure 
to  the  Volva  as  to  others  ;  nothing  existed  before  the  Creation. 
The  world  was  then  a  gaping  void  (Ginnungagap),  and  there 
the  Jotun  Ymir,  or  the  Hrim  Thursar,  lived.  On  each  side  of 

1  The  one  who  gives  useful  advice. 

2  When  the  heart,  which  is  near  the 
ribs,    is    cold,    the    rihs    are    also    cold  ; 
therefore  this  means  cold-hearted. 

3  Foeda  means  both  to  give  birth  to, 
to  raise,  and  to  feed. 

*    Ividi,    a    very    obscure    word    (onlv 

found  here  in  the  whole  Northern  litera- 
ture), which  has  been  translated  dif- 
ferently without  any  particle  of  authority 
in  any  case,  and  in  each  case  only  as  a 
mere  guess.  The  word  rid  means  tree, 
perhaps  the  world-tree,  Yggdrasil,  which 
d  its  routs  under  the  world. 



Ginnungagap  there  were  two  worlds,  Nifikeim,  the  world  of 
cold,  and  Muspelheirn,  the  world  of  heat. 

When  Yniir  lived 

In  early  ages 

Was  neither  sand  nor  sea, 

Nor  cool  waves, 

No  earth  was  there 
Nor  heaven  above, 
There  was  gaping  void 
And  grass  nowhere. 

"  First  there  was  a  home  (a  world)  in  the  southern  half  of 
the  world  called  Muspel ;  it  is  hot  and  bright,  so  that  it  is 
burning  and  in  flames  ;  it  is  also  inaccessible  for  those  who 
have  no  odals  (or  family  estates) ;  there  the  one  that  sits  at  the 
land's  end  to  defend  it  is  called  a  Surt.  He  has  a  flaming 
sword,  and  at  the  end  of  the  world  he  will  go  and  make 
warfare  and  get  victory  over  all  the  gods,  and  burn  the  whole 
world  with  fire"  (Later  Edda,  c.  4).1 

The  origin  of  the  Hrirn  Thursar  and  the  Birth  of  Ymir,  who 
lived  in  Giimungagap.  and  of  Odin,  Vili,  and  Ve,  is  as  follows  : 

"  Gangleri  asked,  '  How  was  it  before  the  kindreds  existed 
and  mankind  increased  ? '  Har  answered,  '  When  the  rivers 
called  Elivagar  had  run  so  far  from  their  sources  that  the 
quick  venom  which  flowed  into  them,  like  the  dross  which 
runs  out  of  the  fire,  got  hard,  and  changed  into  ice  ;  when  this 
ice  stood  still  and  flowed  no  longer,  the  exhalation  of  the 
poison  came  over  it  and  froze  into  rime ;  the  rime  rose  up  all 
the  way  into  the  Ginnungagap.'  Jafnhar  said,  '  The  part  of 
Giimungagap  turning  to  the  north  was  filled  with  the  heavi- 
ness and  weight  of  ice  and  rime,  and  the  opposite  side  with 
drizzle  and  gusts  of  wind ;  but  the  southern  part  of  Ginnunga- 
gap became  less  heavy,  from  the  sparks  and  glowing  sub- 
stances which  came  flying  from  Muspelheini.'  Thridi  said, 
'  Just  as  the  cold  and  all  things  come  from  Niflheim,  the 
things  near  Muspel  were  hot  and  shining ;  Ginuungagap  was 
as  warm  as  windless  air  When  the  rime  and  the  breath  of 
the  heat  met  so  that  the  rime  melted  into  drops,  a  human 
form  came  from  these  flowing  drops  with  the  power  of  the  one 
who  had  sent  the  heat ;  he  was  called  Ymir,  but  the  Hrim- 
thursar  call  him  Orgelmir.  and  the  kin  of  the  Hrimthursar 
have  sprung  from  him.'  Gangleri  asked,  '  How  did  the  kin 
grow  from  this,  or  how  came  it  that  there  were  more  men  ;  or 
dost  thou  believe  in  the  god  of  whom  thou  didst  tell  now  ? ' 
Har  answered,  '  By  no  means  do  we  think  him  a  god ;  he  was 

1  It  is  well  known  that  the  later  Edda 
bears  strong  marks  of  the  influence  of 
Christianity,  and  we  quote  it  with  caution 

and  only  when  it  essentially  agrees  with 
Voluspa  and   other  parts  of  the  earlier 



bad,  and  all  his  kinsmen;  we  call  them  Hrimthursar.  It  is 
told  that  when  asleep  he  sweated,  and  then  there  grew  a  man 
and  a  woman  from  under  his  left  arm,  and  one  of  his  feet 
begot  a  son  with  the  other;  thence  have  sprung  the  kin  of 
Hrimthursar.  We  call  Ymir  the  Old  Hrimthurs." 

"  Gangleri  asked,  '  Where  did  Ymir  live,  or  by  what  ? ' 
'  It  happened  next  when  the  hoar-frost  fell  in  drops  that  the 
cow  Audhumla  grew  out  of  it ;  four  rivers  of  milk  ran  from 
her  teats,  and  she  fed  Ymir.' 

"  Gangleri  asked,  '  On  what  did  the  cow  feed  ? '  Har 
answered,  '  She  licked  the  rime-stones  covered  with  salt  and 
rime,  and  the  first  day  when  she  licked  them  a  man's  hair 
came  out  of  them  in  the  evening  ;  the  second  day  a  man's 
head ;  the  third  day  a  whole  man  was  there ;  he  is  called 
Buri ;  he  was  handsome  in  looks,  large,  and  mighty  ;  he  had 
Bor  for  son,  who  got  Besla,  daughter  of  Bolthom  jotim,  for 
wife,  and  she  had  three  sons,  Odin,  Vili,1  Ve ;  and  it  is  my 
belief  that  this  Odin  and  his  brothers  are  the  rulers  of  heaven 
and  earth.  We  think  he  is  called  so.  Thus  the  man  whom 
we  know  to  be  the  greatest  and  most  famous  is  called,  and 
they  may  well  give  him  this  name  '  '  ('  Gylfaginning,'  c.  5). 

The  ash  tree  Yggdrasil  is  one  of  the  strangest  conceptions 
found  in  any  mythology. 

An  ash  I  know  standing  Three  roots  stand 

Called  Yggdrasil,  In  three  directions 

A  high  tree  besprinkled  Under  the  ash  Yggdrasil ; 

With  white  loam  ;  Hel  dwels  under  one, 

Thence  come  the  dews  The  Hrim-thursar  under  the  second, 

That  drop  in  the  dales ;  Under  the  third  "  mortal  "  men. 

It  stands  evergreen  (Grimmsrual). 

Spreading  over  the  well  of  Urd. 

Under  it  stands  the  well  of  wisdom  for  a  drink  from  which 
Odin  pledges  his  one  eye. 

"  Gangleri  said  :  '  Where  is  the  head-place  or  holy  place  of 
the  Asar  ?'  Har  answered  :  '  At  the  ash  of  Yggdrasil,  where 
the  gods  give  their  judgments  every  day/  Gangleri  asked  : 
'  What  can  be  told  of  that  place  ?'  Jainhar  said  :  '  The  ash 
is  the  largest  and  best  of  trees ;  its  branches  spread  all  over 
the  world  and  reach  up  over  the  heaven  ;  three  roots  of  the 
tree  hold  it  up  and  spread  very  widely.  One  (of  the  roots)  is 
with  the  Asar,  another  with  the  Hrimthursar  where  of  yore 

Vili,  will ;    Ve,  sanctuary,  holy  place.    Cf.  also  '  Lokasenna,'  26  ;  '  Yngliiiija,'  c.  3. 


Grinnungagap  was ;  the  third  is  over  Niflheim,  and  beneath 
it  is  Hvergelmin,  but  Nidhog  gnaws  its  lower  part.  Under 
the  root  turning  towards  the  Hrinithursar  is  Mimir's  well, 
in  which  wisdom  and  intellect  are  hidden.  Its  owner  is 
called  Mimir;  he  is  full  of  wisdom,  for  he  drinks  from 
the  well  of  the  horn  Gjallar-horn.  Odin  came  and  asked  for  a 
drink  of  the  well,  and  did  not  get  it  till  he  pawned  his  eye." 

"  What  more  wonders,"  asked  Gangleri,  "  may  be  told  of 
the  ash  ? "  Bar  answered,  "  Many  wonders.  An  eagle  sits 
in  the  limbs  of  the  ash  and  knows  many  things ;  between 
its  eyes  sits  the  hawk  Vedrfolnir.  The  squirrel  Ratatosk 
runs  up  and  down  the  ash  and  carries  words  of  envy  between 
the  eagle  and  Nidhog.  Four  harts  run  on  the  limbs  of 
the  ash  and  eat  the  buds ;  they  are  called  Dain,  Dvalin, 
Duneyr,  and  Durathror.  So  many  serpents  are  in  Hver- 
gelmir  with  Nidhog  that  no  tongue  can  number  them" 
(Gylfaginning,  c.  16). 

Heid  in  the  Voluspa  tells  about  the  holy  tree,  and  that  the 
horn  of  Heimdall  is  hidden  under  it  till  the  last  fight  of  the 
gods.  Yggdrasil  is  watered  from  the  water  of  the  well. 

She  knows  that  the  blast  She  sees  it  poured  over 

Of  Heimdal  is  hidden  By  a  muddy  stream 

Under  the  bright  From  the  pledge  of  Valfodr ; 

Holy  tree  ;  Know  ye  all  up  to  this  and  onward  ? 

Under  the  tree  lived  the  three  Nornir  (Genii),  who  shape 
the  destinies  of  men. 

Thence  come  three  maidens,  The  third  Skuld  ; 

Knowing  many  things,  They  carved  on  wood  tablets, 

Out  of  the  hall  They  chose  lives, 

Which  stands  under  the  tree ;  They  laid  down  laws 

One  was  called  Urd,  For  the  children  of  men, 

Another  Verdaudi,  They  chose  the  fates  of  men. 

Hel  was  one  of  the  nine  worlds,  and  stood  under  the  ush 
Yggdrasil,  where  the  dead,  who  did  not  die  on  the  battle-field, 
went.  Hence,  when  a  man  had  died,  Hel-shoes  were  put  on 
his  feet  for  the  journey. 

Odin  goes  to  the  world  of  Hel,  in  which  was  the  Gnipa  cave, 
in  order  to  inquire  about  the  fate  of  his  son  Baldr  who  had  died. 

"  Odin  threw  Hel  (daughter  of  Loki)  down  into  Niflheim, 
and  gave  her  power  over  nine  worlds ;  she  was  to  lodge  all 
those  v.ho  were  sent  to  her,  namely,  those  who  died  of  sickness 
and  old  age.  She  has  a  large  homestead  there,  and  her  house- 

BALDR  33 

walls  are  wonderfully  high,  and  her  doors  are  large.  Her 
hall  is  called  Eljiidnir,  her  plate  famine,  her  knife  hunger; 
ganglati  (lazy-goer,  idler)  her  thrall;  ganglot  (idler)  her 
bondswoman  ;  her  threshhold  is  called  stumbling-block ;  her 
bed  the  couch  of  one  who  is  bed-ridden ;  her  bed-hangings 
(arsal)  the  glittering  evil.  One  half  of  her  body  is  livid, 
and  the  other  half  skin-colour ;  therefore  she  is  easily  known, 
and  her  look  is  frowning  and  fierce "  (Later  Edda,  c.  34, 

"  It  is  the  beginning  of  this  Saga  that  Baldr  the  Good 
dreamt  great  and  dangerous  dreams  about  his  life.  When  he 
told  them  to  the  Asar  they  consulted  and  resolved  to  ask  for 
safety  for  Baldr  from  every  kind  of  danger;  Frigg  (Odin's 
wife;  took  oaths  from  fire,  water,  iron,  arid  every  kind  of 
metal,  stones,  earth,  trees,  sicknesses,  beasts,  birds,  poison, 
serpents,  that  they  would  spare  Baldr's  life.  "When  this  was 
done  and  known,  Baldr  and  the  Asar  entertained  themselves 
thus :  he  stood  up  at  the  Things  and  some  gods  shot  at  him, 
or  others  struck  at  him  or  threw  stones  at  him.  Whatever 
they  did  he  was  not  hurt,  and  all  thought  this  a  great  wonder. 
When  Loki  Lanfeyjarson  saw  this  he  was  angry  that  Baldi 
was  not  hurt.  He  changed  himself  into  a  woman's  shape  and 
went  to  Frigg  in  Fensalir.  Frigg  asked  this  woman  if  she 
knew  what  the  Asar  were  doing  at  the  Thing.  She  said  that 
they  all  shot  at  Baldr,  and  that  he  was  not  hurt.  Frigg  said, 
'  Weapons  or  trees  will  not  hurt  Baldr ;  I  have  taken  oaths 
from  them  all.'  The  woman  asked,  '  Have  all  things  taken 
oaths  to  spare  Baldr's  life  ?  '  Frigg  answered,  '  A  bush  grows 
east  of  Valholl  called  Mistiltein  (mistle-toe) ;  I  thought  it  was 
too  young  to  take  an  oath.'  The  woman  went  away ;  but  Loki 
took  the  mistletoe  and  tore  it  up  and  went  to  the  Thing. 
Hod  (Baldr's  brother)  stood  in  the  outmost  part  of  the  ring  of 
people.  Loki  said  to  him,  '  Why  doest  thou  not  shoot  at 
Baldr  ? '  He  answered,  '  Because  I  d6  not  see  where  he  is, 
and  also  I  am  weaponless.'  Loki  said,  '  Do  like  other  men 
and  show  honour  to  Baldr ;  I  will  show  thee  where  he  stands ; 
shoot  this  stick  at  him.'  Hod  took  the  mistletoe  and  shot  at 
Baldr  as  Loki  showed  him  ;  it  pierced  Baldr,  who  fell  dead  to 
the  ground.  This  was  the  most  unfortunate  deed  that  has 
been  done  among  the  gods  and  men.  When  Baldr  was  fallen 
none  of  the  Asar  could  say  a  word  or  touch  him  with  their 
hands,  and  they  looked  at  each  other  with  the  same  mind 
towards  the  one  who  had  done  this  deed,  but  no  one  could 
take  revenge  ;  it  was  such  a  place  of  peace.  When  they  tried 
to  speak  the  tears  came  first,  so  that  no  one  could  tell  to  the 
other  his  sorrow  in  words.  Odin  suffered  most  from  this  loss, 

VOL.  I.  D 


because  he  knew  best  what  a  loss  and  damage  to  the  Asar  the 
death  of  Baldr  was.  .  .  ."  (Gylfaginning,  c.  49). 

"  It  is  to  be  told  of  Hermod  that  he  rode  nine  nights 
through  dark  and  deep  valleys  and  saw  nothing  before  he 
came  to  the  river  Gjoll 1  and  rode  on  the  Gjallar  bridge,2 
which  is  covered  with  shining  gold.3  Modgucl  is  the  name  of 
the  maiden  who  guards  the  bridge  ;  she  asked  him  his  name 
and  kin,  and  said  that  the  day  before  rive  arrays  of  dead  men 
rode  over  the  bridge,  '  but  the  bridge  sounds  not  less  under 
thee  alone,  and  thou  hast  not  the  colour  of  dead  men  ;  why 
ridest  thou  here  on  the  way  of  Hel  ? '  He  answered,  '  I  am 
riding  to  Hel  to  seek  Baldr,  or  hast  thou  seen  Baldr  on  the 
way  of  Hel  ?  '  She  answered  that  Baldr  had  ridden  over  the 
Gjallar  bridge,  '  but  the  way  of  Hel  lies  downward  and  north- 
ward.' Hermod  rode  till  he  came  to  the  gates  of  Hel ;  then  he 
alighted  and  girthed  his  horse  strongly,  mounted  and  pricked 
it  with  the  spurs;  the  horse  leaped  so  high  over  the  gate 
that  it  touched  nowhere.  Then  Hermod  rode  home  to  the 
hall,  alighted,  went  in  and  saw  his  brother  Baldr  sitting  in  a 
high-seat ;  he  stayed  there  the  night.  In  the  morning  Hermod 
asked  Hel  to  allow  Baldr  to  ride  home  with  him,  and  told 
how  great  weeping  there  was  among  the  Asar.  Hel  said  she 
would  see  if  Baldr  was  as  beloved  as  was  told ;  if  all  things, 
living  and  dead,  in  the  world  weep  over  him,  he  shall  go  back 
to  the  Asar,  but  remain  with  Hel  (me)  if  any  refuse  or  will 
not  weep.  Then  Herm  ;d  rose,  and  Baldr  let  him  out  of  the 
hall  and  took  the  ring  Draupuir  and  sent  it  to  Odin  as  a 
remembrance,  and  Nauna  4  sent  to  Frigg  a  linen  veil  and  more 
gifts,  and  ,to  Fulla  a  gold  ring.  Then  Hermod  rode  back  to 
Asgard  and  told  all  the  tidings  he  had  seen  or  heard.  There- 
upon the  Asar  sent  messengers  all  over  the  world  to  ask  that 
Baldr  might  be  wept  out  of  Hel,  and  all  did  it,  men  and  beasts, 
earth  and  stones,  trees,  and  all  metals,  as  thou  must  have  seen 
that  these  things  weep  when  they  come  from  frost  into  heat. 
When  the  messengers  went  home  and  had  performed  their 
errands  well,  they  found  a  jotun  woman  sitting  in  a  cave, 
called  Thokk ;  they  asked  her  to  weep  Baldr  (out  of)  Hel ; 
she  answered — 

Thukk  will  weep  I  never  enjoyed 

With  dry  teara  A  living  or  a  dead  man's  son; 

The  burning  voyage  of  Baldr;  May  Hel  keep  what  she  has. 

1  Gjoll  (the  sounding  one).  4  Nanna  is  told  of  in  Baldr's  burning. 

2  Gjallar  bridge  (the  bridge  of  Gjoll). 

3  Modgud  (the  valkyrja  ot' anger). 

as  she,  his  wife,  was  burnt  with  him. 

HEIMDALL.  ",\:> 

It  is  guessed  that  this  was  Loki  Laufeyjarson,  who  had  caused 
most  evils  among  the  Asar." 

"  Then  also  the  dog  Garni,  which  is  tied  in  front  of  Gnipa 
cave,  got  loose  ;  he  is  the  greatest  terror,  he  fights  Tyr  and 
they  kill  each  other"  (Gylfaginning,  c.  5). 

The  wicked  seem  to  have  died  twice  :    first  they  die  and 
get  into   Hel,  then    they  die    again   and  get  into  Niflliel  - 
Fotjgij  Hel.     The  following  is  one  of  the  answers  of  Vafthrud- 
nir  to  Odin  : — 

Of  the  runes1  of  Jotnar  In  every  world  : 

And  those  of  ail  the  gods  I  have  gone  to  nine 

I  can  tell  thee  true,  Worlds  beneath  Nifi-hel ; 

For  I  have  been  There  die  the  raen  from  Hel. 

The  sides  of  the  rirn  of  heaven  communicate  with  each  other 
by  a  bridge  called  Bifrost,  or  the  bridge  of  the  Asar,  on  which 
Heimdall,  the  watchman  of  the  gods,  stood. 

"  Heimdall  is  the  watchman  of  the  gods  standing  on  Bifrost 
Bridge  (the  rainbow)  "  (Later  Edcla,  27). 

"  Heimdall  is  named  the  White  As  :  he  is  great  and  holy  ; 
nine  maidens  bore  him  as  son,  and  thev  were  all  sisters.  He 


is  also  called  Hallinskidi  and  Gullintanni  (gold  tooth).  His 
teeth  were  of  gold,  his  horse  is  called  gold  maned.  He  lived 
at  a  place  called  Himinbjorg  (heaven  mountains)  by  Bifrost. 
He  is  the  warden  of  the  gods,  and  sits  there  at  the  end  of 
heaven  to  guard  the  bridge  against  the  Berg  Eisar  (mountain 
Jotnar) ;  he  needs  less  sleep  than  a  bird,  he  can  see  equally 
by  night  and  by  day  a  hundred  leagues  away,  and  he  hears 
when  the  grass  grows,  or  the  wool  on  the  sheep,  and  all  that 
is  louder  than  these.  He  has  the  horn  called  Gjallarhorn,  and 
his  blowing  is  heard  through  all  worlds.  The  sword  of  Heimdall 
is  called  Hofud  "  (Gylfaginning,  27). 

We  find  that  the  Jotuar  and  Asar  were  separated  from  each 
other  by  a  large  river  whose  waters  never  freeze. 


Tell  me,  Gagurad,  &c., 
How  the  river  is  called 

Which  divides  the  land 
Between  the  sons  of  Jotnar  and  the 

1  In  Sigurdrifumal   it  is   said    the    runes   were   in    the   holy   eiead.  sent   to   Asar, 

Alfar,  and  Vanir. 

D   2 



Ifing  is  the  river  called 
That  parts  the  land 
Between  the  sons  of  Jotnar  and  the 
gods  ; 

Open  shall  it  flow 

All  the  days  of  the  world  ; 

No  ice  will  come  on  it. 

From  Vafthrudnismal  we  learn  of  the  origin  of  Bergelinir 
who  was  born  before  the  Creation. 

It  is  an  important  question  which  are  the  most  ancient 
people — the  Asar,  or  the  ancient  kinsmen  of  Ymir  ? 


Tell  me  .  .  . 
Who  of  the  Asar, 
Or  of  the  sons  of  Ymir, 
Was  the  oldest  in  early  days  ? 

Numberless  winters 
Before  the  earth  was  shaped 
Was  Bergelinir  born. 
Was  his  father 
And  Orgelniir  his  grandfather. 


Tell  me  .  .  . 

Whence  first  Orgelmir  came 
Among  the  sons  of  Jotnar, 
Thou  wise  Jotun. 

I  'afthrudnir. 

From  Elivagar 1 

Spurted  drops  of  poison 

Which  grew  into  a  Jotun  ; 

Thence  are  our  kin 

All  sprung ; 

Hence  they  are  always  too  hideous. 


Tell  me  .  .  . 
How  that  strong  Jotun 
Begat  children 
As  he  had  not  beheld  a  gyrj  ?  2 

In  the  armpit 

Of  the  Hrim-thursar,  it  is  said, 
Grew  a  maiden  and  a  son ; 
Foot  begat  with  foot 
Of  that  wise  Jotun 
A  six-headed  son. 

Tell  me  ... 

What  thou  earliest  rememberest, 
Or  knowest  farthest  back  ; 
Thou  art  an  all-wise  Jotun. 

Numberless  winters 
Ere  the  earth  was  shaped 
Was  Bergelmir  born  ; 
The  first  I  remember 
Is  when  that  wise  Jotuu 
Was  laid  in  the  flour-bin.3 

In  due  course  Ymir  was  slain  by  Odin.  Vili,  and  Ve,  the 
three  sons  of  Bor,  who  was  himself  a  Jotun,  and  therefore  of 
the  same  kin  as  Ymir.  Having  slain  Ymir,  the  sons  of  Bor 

1  Elivagar,  the   streams  flowing  from    j    the  boat  is  called  in  which  he  saved  his 
the  well  Hvergelmir  in  Niflheim    froze    I    life  as  is  seen  by  what  follows.     lu  the 
into  a  Jotun. 

2  i.e.,  a  Jotun  woman. 

lay  of  Hyndla  we  read  : — 

A  kind  of  trough  used  for  flour;  so 

"  All  Jotnar  came  from  Vmir." 

CHEAT  HL\  (>r  ///•;.!  I'A'.V  AXD  EARTH.  'M 

proceeded  to  make  the  earth  out  of  his  body,  and  to  give  the 
sun,  moon,  and  stars  their  places  in  heaven.  The  flow  of  his 
blood  was  so  great  as  to  cause  a  deluge.  Bergelmir  was  the 
only  one  of  the  Hrim-Thursar  who  escaped  in  a  boat  with  his 
wife,  and  from  him  came  a  new  race  of  Hrim-Thursar. 

"  The  sons  of  Bor  slew  the  Jotim  Ymir,  but  when  he  fell 
there  flowed  so  much  blood  from  his  wounds  that  it  drowned 
the  whole  race  of  the  Hrim-Thursar,  except  one  who  escaped 
with  his  household.  Him  the  Jotnar  called  Bergelmir;  he 
and  his  wife  went  on  board  his  ark,  and  thus  saved  them- 
selves ;  from  them  are  descended  a  new  race  of  Hrim-Thursar  " 
(Later  Edda). 

After  the  destruction  of  the  earlier  Hrim-Thursar  we  hear 
how  the  sons  of  Bor  created  the  world,  and  we  are  told  how 
the  earth  and  the  heavens  were  made  from  Ymir. 

From  Ymir's  flesh  But  from  his  brows 

The  earth  \vas  shaped,  The  mild  gods  made 

And  from  his  blood  the  sea ;  Midgard  for  the  sons  of  men  ; 

The  mountains  from  his  bones;  And  from  his  brain 

From  bis  hair  the  trees,  Were  all  the  gloomy 

And  the  heaven  from  his  skull.  Clouds  created. 


We  are  also  told  of  the  creation  of  the  planets  and  stars, 
of  our  world,  of  the  sea,  of  the  moon,  and  of  day  and  night. 
The  year  was  reckoned  by  winters  (vetr),  and  the  days  by 
nights  (nott). 

The  year  was  divided  into  months  (manud  or  manad). 

"  Haustmanud  (harvest-month)  is  the  last  before  winter; 
Gormdnud  (gore-month,  called  thus  from  the  slaughter  of 
cattle  then  taking  place)  the  first  month  of  winter  ;  Frermdnud 
(frost-month);  Hrutmdnud  (the  ram's  month);  Thorri  (the 
month  of  waning  or  declining  winter)  ;  Goi,  Einmdnud  .... 
then  Gaukmdnud  or  Sddtid  (cuckoo-month  or  sowing-tide) ; 
Eggtid  or  Stekktid  (egg-tide  or  weaning-tide) ;  Solmdnnd  or 
Selmdnud  (sun-month  or  saeter-month  in  which  the  cattle  are 
removed  to  the  sel  or  saeter) ;  Heyjannir  (haymaking-month) ; 
Kornskurdarmdnud  (grain-reauing  month)  "  (Skaldskaparmal, 
c.  63). 

The  month  was  subdivided  into  six  weeks  ;  each  week  con- 



tamed  five  days.  The  days  were  called — Tysdag  =  Tuesday  ; 
Odinsdag  =  Wednesday ;  Thorsdag  -  Thursday;  Frjadag  = 
Friday ;  Laugardag  (bath-day)  or  Thvattdag  (washing-day) 
=  Saturday. 


Tell  me  ... 
Whence  the  moon  came 
That  walks  above  men, 
And  the  sun  also? 


Mundilfori  *  is  called 
The  father  of  the  moon, 
And  of  the  sun  also ; 
Wheel  round  the  heaven 
They  shall  every  day, 
And  tell  men  of  the  years. 


Tell  me  ... 
Whence  the  day  came 
That  passes  over  mankind, 
Or  the  night  with  her  new  moons? 


Delling  (the  bright)  is  called 
The  father  of  Dag  (the  day) 
But  Nott  (night)  was  Norvi's 2 

daughter ; 

The  full  moons  and  the  new  ones 
Tlie  good  gods  made 
Tu  tell  men  the  years. 


The  following  is  the  origin  of  Midgard  :— 

Ere  the  sons  of  Bor 
Raised  me  lands, 
They  who  shaped 
The  famous  Midgard  ; 
The  sun  shone  from  the  south 
On  the  stones  of  the  hall ; 
Then  the  ground  grew 
With  green  grass. 

The  sun  from  the  south,3 
The  companion  of  the  moon, 
With  her  right  hand  took  hold 
Of  the  rim  of  heaven  ; 4 
The  sun  knew  not 
Where  she5  owned  halls, 
The  moon  knew  not 

What  power  he 6  had  ; 
The  stars  knew  not 
Where  they  owned  places. 

Then  all  the  powers  went 

To  their  judgment  seats,7 

The  most  holy  gods 

Counselled  about  this ; 

To   night   and   the   quarters   of  the 


Gave  they  names  ; 
They  gave  names  to 
Morning  and  midday, 
To  afternoon  and  eve, 
That  the  years  might  be  reckoned. 


Then  we  have  the  origin  of  the  wind  and  of  winter.   Hrsesvelg 
means  the  swallower  of  corpses. 

1  Mundilfori,  from  rnond"!  =  a  handle, 
and  fara  =  to  go ;  the  one  veering  or 
turning  round. 

2  A  Jotun. 

Sun,   in    the    north,  is    of  feminine 
gender,  and  the  moon  masculine. 

4  The  rim  of  heaven  =  the  line  of  the 
sky  from  the  horizon. 

5  The  sun. 

6  The  moon. 

7  Kokstol — stol,    seat    or    stool  ;    rofc, 

T11K  CREATION  <>F  M.l\  A.\J>   \\'<>MAN. 


Tell  me   ... 
Whence  the  wind  conies 
Who  goes  over  the  waves ; 
Men  do  not  see  him. 


Hrcesvelg  is  called 

He  who  sits  at  heaven's  end, 

A  Jotun  in  an  eagle's  shape  ; 

From  his  wings 

It  is  said  the  wind  comes 

Over  all  mankind. 


Tell  me.  .  . 

Whence  the  winter  came, 
Or  the  warm  summer, 
First  with  the  wise  gods. 


Vindsval l  is  called 

The  lather  of  winter, 

And  Suasud  2  the  father  of  summer. 

Another  amplification  of  the  Creation  is  given  in  Gylfagin- 

Thridi  said  : 

"  They  took  Ynair's  skull,  and  made  thereof  the  sky,  and 
raised  it  over  the  earth  with  four  sides.  Under  each  corner 
they  set  four  Dvergar,  which  were  called  Austri,  East ;  Vestri, 
West ;  Nordri,  North  ;  Sudri,  South.  Then  they  took  glow- 
ing sparks  that  were  loose  and  had  been  cast  out  from  Muspel- 
heim,  and  placed  them  in  the  midst  of  the  boundless  heaven, 
both  above  and  below,  to  light  up  heaven  and  earth ;  they 
gave  resting-places  to  all  fires,  and  set  some  in  heaven ;  some 
were  made  free  to  go  under  heaven,  but  they  gave  them  a 
place  and  shaped  their  course.  In  old  songs  it  is  said  that 
from  that  time  days  and  years  were  reckoned." 

The  creation  of  the  world,  and  of  the  heavens  and  planets, 
is  followed  by  that  of  the  Dvergar  and  of  man  and  woman, 
who  were  helpless  and  fateless  (their  destinies  not  having  been 
spun  by  the  Nornir)  ;  from  these  two  mankind  are  descended. 

Then  all  the  gods  went 
Tu  their  judgment-seats, 
The  most  holy  gods, 
And  counselled  about 
Who  should  create 
The  host  of  Dvergar 

From  the  bloody  surf3 

And  from  the  bones  of  Blain. 

There  did  Modsognir4 
The  mightiest  become 
Of  all  Dvergar, 

1  Wind-chilly. 

2  Sweet  mood. 

3  Bloody  surf  means    poetically    the 
sea,  and    the    expression,    the    bones    of 
F.Iain,  a  name  nowhere  else  mentioned  in 
the  earlier  Edda,  seems  to  refer  to  a  Hglit, 
the  record  of  which  is  lost  to  us. 

4  Modsognir  and  Durin,only  mentioned 

here,  refer  to  some  lost  myth.  There 
seem  to  have  been  three  kinds  of  tribes 
of  Dvergar,  having  for  chiefs,  respectively, 
Mudsognir,  Durin,  Dvalin.  "  Many  man- 
likenesses  in  the  earth,"  namely  Dvergar, 
who  are  often  described  as  living  under 
the  earth. 



And  Durin  next  to  him  ; 
They  two  shaped 
Many  man-likenesses 
In  the  ground, 

As  Durin  has  told.1 
*         *         * 

It  is  time  to  reckon 

Down  to  Lofar, 

For  mankind  (Gdnar), 

The  Dvergar  in  Dvalin's  host,2 

Those  who  went 

From  the  stone-halls, 

The  host  of  Aurvaugar, 

O  r 

To  Joruvellir  (battle-plains). 

Until  out  of  that  host  3 
To  the  house 4 
Came  three  Asar 
Mighty  and  mild ; 
They  found  on  the  ground 
Ask  and  Embla, 
Helpless  and  fateless 

They  had  no  breath, 
They  had  no  mind, 
Neither  blood  nor  motion 
Nor  proper  complexion. 
Odin  gave  the  breath,s 
Hcenir  gave  the  mind, 
Lodur  gave  the  blood 
And  befitting  hues. 


Finally  the  Volva  describes  the  end  of  the  world. 

Eastward  sat  the  old  one 

In  Jarnvid,6 

And  there  bred 

The  brood  of  Fenrir  ; 

Of  them  all 

One  becomes 

The  destroyer  of  the  sun 

In  the  shape  of  a  Troll. 

He 7  is  fed  with  the  lives 
Of  death-fated  men  ; 
He  reddens  the  seat  of  the  gods 
With  red  blood  ; 

The  sunshine  becomes  black 
After  the  summers, 
And  all  weather  woe-begonc. 
Know  ye  all  up  to  this  and  onward  ? 

The  herdsman  of  the  Jotun  woman, 

The  glad  Egdir, 

Sat  there  on  a  mound 

And  struck  a  harp, 

A  bright-red  cock, 

Called  Fjalar, 

Crowed  near  him 

In  the  bird- wood. 

1  The  five  stanzas  (Nos.  11,  12,  13, 
15,  16)  omitted  give  a  long  list  of  names 
of  Dvergar,  among  them  those  of  Nyi, 
the   growing    moon;    Nidi,   the   waning 
moon ;  Nordri,  the  north,   &c.;  Althjof, 
all-thief;  Dvalin.  the  delayer,  &c.,  &c. 

2  The  Dvergar  clau  of  Dvalin,  who  is 
not  mentioned  before,  seems  to  have  been 
the  highest  among  all  the  Dvergar. 

From  Alvismal  we  may  infer  that  the 
Dvergar  were  related  to  theThursar. 

1  There  seems  to  be  something  missing 
between  the  stanzas  16  and  17,  unless 
the  poet  means  the  host  of  the  Dvergar, 
who  were  under  the  three  above-named 

4  It  seems  that  the  house  in  which 
Ask  and  Embla  were  to  live  was  in  exist- 
already.  Ask  means  ash-tree,  like 

Ygydrasil ;  Emhla  only  occurs  here  in  the 
Voluspa,  and  it  is  most  difficult  conse- 
quently to  give  a  meaning  to  it;  the 
elm-tree  is  called  aim,  and  perhaps  is 
here  meant  to  be  in  contrast  to  the  ash. 

5  Odin,  Hosnir,  and   Lodur  gave  them 
life.      Hoanir  is    mentioned   iu   the   later 
Edda.     Lodur  is  only  mentioned  in  the 
beginning  of  Heimskringla. 

6  Jarnvid,  or   iron  forest ;  the  word  is 
only  found  here  and  in  the  Later  Edda. 
The    old    one    means   a    Jotun    woman, 
Angrboda,    by    whom     Loki    begat    the 
Fenrir  wolf  (:  Later  Edda,'  c.  34). 

'  The  son  of  Fenrir.  According  to 
the  prose  Edda  Mdnai/arm  is  the  name  of 
the  son  of  the  Fenrir  wolf  who  swal- 
lowed the  moon.  See  Gyh'aginning,  c.  12. 

END  OF  THE   W()lil.l>. 

Crowed  for  the  Asar 
Gullinkambi  (golden-comb), 
He  rouses  the  warriors 
At  Herjafodr's  (host-father) ; 
But  another  crows 
Under  the  ground, 
A  dark  red  cock,1 
In  the  halls  of  Hel. 

Garm  barks  violently 

Before  the  Gnipa  cave ; 

The  fetters  will  break 

And  the  wolf  will  run  ; 

She  (the  Volva)  knows  many  tales. 

I  see  further  forward 

To  the  doom  of  the  powers 

The  dark  doom  of  the  gods. 

Brothers  will  fight 

And  become  each  other's  slayers  ; 

The  sons  of  sisters  will 

Break  blood  ties. 

It  goes  hard  in  the  world, 

There  is  much  whoredom, 

An  age  of  axes,  an  age  of  swords  ; 

Shields  are  cleft ; 

An  age  of  winds,  an  age  of  wolves, 

Ere  the  world  sinks  ; 

No  man  will  spare 

Another  man. 

The  sons  of  Mimir  are  moving 
But  the  end  draws  near, 
By  the  sound  of  the  ancient 
Heimdall  blows  loud, 
The  horn  is  aloft ; 
Odin  talks  with 
The  head  of  Mimir. 

Shakes  the  standing 

Ash  Yggdrasil; 

The  old  tree  groans, 

And  the  Jotun  (Loki)  breaks  loose ; 

All  are  terrified2 

In  the  roads  of  Hel 

Before  the  kinsman  of  Surt 

Swallows  it. 

1  A  thin!  bird  not  named  lives  in  the 
halls  of  Hel.     They  represent  the  Jotnar, 
the  Asar,  and  the  third  Hel  (the  home  <>f 
the  dead),  and  seem  to  be  the  wakers   of 
these  three  different  realms. 

2  The  Asar,  after  taking  Loki.  bound 
him   to  a  rock  with   fetters  made  of  the 
entrails  of  his  son,  Vali  (who  rr.ust  not 
be  confused  with  his  namesake,  Baldr's 

"  Now  Loki  was  without  any  truce 
taken  to  a  cave.  They  took  three  slabs, 
set  them  on  edge,  and  made  a  hole  in 
each.  They  took  the  sons  of  Loki,  Vali 
and  Nari  or  Narfi,  and  changed  Vali 
into  a  wolf  which  tore  Narfi  asunder. 
Then  they  took  his  entrails  and  with 
them  tied  Loki  over  the  three  slabs  ;  one 
was  under  his  shoulders,  another  under 
his  loins,  the  third  under  his  knees,  ami 
these  bands  changed  into  iron.  Then 
Skadi  (a  goddess)  took  a  poisonous  ser- 
pent and  fastened  it  above  him,  sn  that 
the  poison  should  drip  into  his  face ;  but 
his  wife  Sigyn  stands  at  his  side,  and 
holds  a  vessel  under  the  poison-drops. 
When  it  is  full  she  goes  out  to  pour  it 
down,  but  in  the  meanwhile  the  poison 
drips  into  his  face;  then  he  shudders  so 
hard  that  the  whole  earth  trembles  ;  that 
you  call  earthquake.  There  he  lies  in 

bands    till     the     doom    of     the     gods " 
(Gylfaginning-,  c.  50). 

"  Loki  begat  the  wolf 
With  Angrboda, 
And  Sleipnir 
With  Svadilfb'ri ; 
One  monster  was  thought 
Most  terrible  of  all : 
It  was  sprung  from 
The  brother  of  Byleist  (=  Loki)." 
[Hyndlu!j6d,  40  ] 

The  Asar  were  afraid  of  Fenrir  wolf, 
Loki's  son,  and  twice  tried  to  chain  it, 
but  could  not. 

"  Thereupon  they  were  afraid  that 
they  could  not  chain  the  \\ult  :  then 
Allfodr  (Odin)  sent  the  servant  Ski'rnir, 
the  messenger  of  Frey,  down  to  Svartal- 
faheim  '  world  of  the  black  Alfar)  to  some 
Dvergar,  and  had  a  chain  made,  called 
Gleipnir.  It  was  made  of  six  things  : 
Of  the  noise  of  the  cat,  of  the  beard 
of  women,  of  the  roots  of  the  mountain, 
of  the  sinews  of  the  bear,  of  the  breath 
of  the  fish,  of  the  spittle  of  the  bird." 

At  last  they  succeeded  in  chaining  it 
with  the  chain,  but  Tyr  lost  his  right 
hand,  which  he  was  obliged  to  put  into 
the  mouth  of  the  wolf  as  a  pledge. 

"  When  the  Asar   saw   that  the    wit 



How  is  it  with  the  Asar? 

How  is  it  with  the  Alfar  ? 

All  Jotunheim  rumbles, 

The  Asar  are  at  the  Thing ; 

The  Dvergar  moan 

Before  the  stone  doors, 

The  wise  ones  of  the  rock  wall l 

Know  ye  all  up  to  this  and  onward  ? 

Now  Garm  barks  loud 
Before  Gnipa  cave ; 
The  fetters  will  break, 
And  the  wolf  will  run. 

Hrym2  drives  from  the  east, 

Holds  his  shield  before  him. 

The  Jorrnuugand3  writhes 

In  Jotun  wrath  ; 

The  serpent  lashes  the  waves, 

And  the  eagle  screams; 

The  pale  beak  tears  the  corpses; 

Naglfar4  is  loosened. 

A  keel  (a  ship)  comes  from  the  east, 
The  men  of  Muspell 
Will  come  across  the  sea, 
But  Loki  is  the  steerer  ;5 

All  the  monsters 

Go  with  the  wolf, 

The  brother  of  Byleist  (Loki) 

Is  in  the  train. 

Surt  comes  from  the  south 
With  the  switchrharm  (fire); 
The  sun  of  the  gods 
Flashes  from  his  sword ; 
Eocks  clash, 

The  Jotun  women  stagger; 
Men  walk  the  road  of  Hel  ; 
Heaven  is  rent  asunder. 

Then  comes  the  second  c 
Sorrow  of  Hlin, 
When  Odin  goes 
To  fight  the  wolf; 
And  the  bright  slayer 
Of  Beli7  against  Surt ; 
There  will  fall 
The  love  of  Frigg  (Odin). 

Now  Gann  barks  loud 
Before  Gnipa-cave ; 
The  fetters  will  break, 
And  the  wolf  will  run. 

was  fully  tied  they  took  the  band  which 
hung  on  the  chain  and  was  called  Gelgja, 
and  drew  it  through  a  large  slab,  called 
Gjb'll,  and  fastened  the  slab  deep  down 
in  the  ground.  They  took  a  large  stone 
and  put  it  still  deeper  into  the  ground  ; 
it  was  called  Tliviti,  and  they  used  it  as 
a  fastening  pin.  The  wolf  gaped  terribly 
and  shook  itself  violently,  and  wanted 
to  bite  them.  They  put  into  its  mouth  a 
sword  ;  the  guards  touch  the  lower  palate 
and  the  point  the  upper  palate  ;  that  is 
its  gag.  It  groans  fiercely  and  saliva 
flows  from  its  mouth  and  makes  the  river 
Von  ;  there  it  lies  till  the  last  fight  of 
the  gods  "  (Later  Edda,  c.  34). 

1  Dvergar. 

2  Hrym.     This  name  occurs  nowhere 

3  Jormungand    is   the  world  serpent, 
Midgard's  serpent,  the  son  of  Loki. 

"  Angrboda  was  a  Jotun  woman  in  Jot- 
unheimar.  Loki  begat  three  children  by 
her:  Fenrir  wolf,  Jormungand,  or  Mid- 
gardsorm,  the  serpent,  and  Hel.  When 
the  gods  knew  that  these  three  children 

were  brought  up  in  Jotunheimar,  they 
had  foretellings  that  great  misfortune 
and  loss  would  be  caused  by  them,  and 
all  thought  much  evil  must  be  expected 
from  them,  first  on  account  of  their 
mother,  and  still  more  of  their  father. 
Allfodr  (Odin)  sent  the  gods  to  take  and 
bring  them  to  him.  When  they  came 
to  him  he  threw  the  serpent  (Midgard- 
sorm)  into  the  deep  sea  that  lies  round 
all  lands,  and  it  grew  so  much  that  it 
lies  in  the  niiddle  of  the  sea  round  all 
lands  and  bites  its  tail  "  (Later  Edda, 
c.  34). 

4  '•  Naglfar."  The  ship,  said  in  the 
Later  Edda,  Gylfaginning  51,  to  be  made 
of  nails  of  dead  men  ;  when  it  is  finished 
the  end  of  the  world  comes. 

4  Loki  being  the  chief  enemy  of  the 

6  The   first  sorrow  is  not   mentioned. 
Hlin.  a  maid  of  Frigg  (see  Gylfaginning, 
35).     Her  second  sorrow  is  the  death  of 

7  Slayer  of  Beli  =  Frey. 



Then  comes  the  great 

Son  of  Sigfodr  (father  of  victory) 

Vidar  to  slay, 

The  beast  of  carrion.1 

AVith  his  hand  he  lets 

His  sword  pierce 

The  heart  of  the  Jotun's  son,2 

Then  his  father  (Odin)  is  avenged.3 

Then  conies  the  famous 

Son  of  Hlodyn  (Thor) ; 

Odin's  son 

Goes  to  fight  the  serpent ; 

Midgard's  defender  (Thor) 

Slays  him  in  wrath  ; 

All  men  will 

Leave  their  homesteads ; 

The  son  of  Fjorgyn  (TUur), 
Walks  nine  paces 
Reeling  from  the  serpent 
That  slums  not  heinous  deeds. 

The  sun  blackens,4 
The  earth  sinks  into  the  sea; 
The  bright  stars 
Vanish  from  heaven  ; 
The  life-feeder  (fire) 
And  the  vapour  rage  ; 
The  high  heat  rises 
Towards  heaven  itself. 
Now  Garm  barks  loud5 
Before  Gnipa-cave ; 
The  fetters  will  break, 
And  the  wolf  will  run. 


After  the  destruction  of  the  world,  a  new  one  will  arise. 

She 6  beholds  rising  up 
Another  time 
An  earth  out  of  the  sea, 
An  evergreen  one. 

The  waterfalls  rush ; 
Above  an  eagle  flies 
Which  on  the  mountains 
Catches  fish. 

The  Asar  meet 

On  the  Idavb'll  (plain) 

And  talk  about 

The  mighty  earth-serpent 

And  there  speak  of 

The  great  events 

And  of  the  old  runes 

Of  Fimbultyr. 

1  The  wolf  Fenrir. 

2  Loki   is  the    father  of   Fenrir-wolf, 
who  is  called  the  Jotun's  son,  as  Loki  was 
a  Jb'tun. 

3  Odin's  son,  Vidar,  avenges  his  father 
by  slaying  the  Ffnrir- \vull'. 

4  Here    the    Volva    again    sees    how 
everything     is     destroyed.        Ragnarok, 
"the  doom   of  the   powers  and  the  end 
of  the  world,"  is  mentioned  in  Lokasenm 
where  Loki  is  taunting  the  gods  ;  when 
he    comes    to    Tyr,    the    latter    answers 
him — 

I  nave  no  haud 

And  thou  hast  no  praise  j 

We  are  both  badly  off; 
Nor  is  the  wolf  well        , 
That  in  bands  shall 
Wait  for  Ragnarok. 

In  Atlamal  Ragnarok  is  also  men- 
tioned in  the  dreams  of  Glaumvor  (see 
p.  462).  In  the  later  Edda  the  word  is 
corrupted  by  having  an  '•  r "  .added, 
which  gives  the  meaning  of  twilight  instead 
of  doom  of  the  gods,  as  it  really  meant. 

5  The  Volva  seems  never  to  tire  re- 
minding her  hearers  that  the  dog  Garm 
barks  loud,  &c. 

•'  Tae  Volva. 


MYTHOLOGY    AND   COSMOGONY — continued. 

Norse  Cosmogony — Midgard,  Asgard,  and  Mannheim — The  Asar  and  Vanir 
— Thor  and  Tyr— The  Goddesses— The  Apples  of  Youth. 

WHERE  the  mythical  Odin  ends  in  the  Voluspa,  if  there  is  any 
ending  to  him,  is  impossible  to  tell ;  it  appears  that  he  came 
and  built  an  earthly  Midgard,1  according  to  the  writer  of  the 
Later  Edda  who  gives  the  tradition  and  belief  of  the  people 
in  his  day. 

Odin  himself  was  originally  a  Jotun,  and  it  would  appear 
from  the  mythological  literature  of  the  North  that,  for  some 
reason,  he  wished  to  found  a  new  religion,  and  desired  to 
proclaim  himself  chief  and  spiritual  ruler  over  several,  if  not 
all  the  tribes  before  mentioned  ;  this  claim,  from  the  account 
of  the  fights  which  took  place,  must  have  been  hotly  con- 
tested. In  the  history  of  the  birth  of  every  nation,  something 
similar  has  taken  place,  and  these  struggles  are  always 
described  with  wonderful  and  often  supernatural  accompani- 
ments. We  are  led  to  believe  that  a  devoted  band  of  followers 
attached  themselves  to  Odin's  cause,  and  gradually  others 
joined  him ;  thus  forming  a  community  over  which  he  was  the 
leader.  To  protect  themselves  from  their  enemies,  among 
whom,  according  to  the  Ecldas,  were  included  Jotnar  and 
Thursar,  &c.,  the  Asar  erected  a  wall  round  their  country,  and 
called  the  whole  enclosed  land  Midgard. 

In  the  centre  of  Midarard,  Odin  built  for  himself,  his  family, 

•i   7 

chiefs,  and  councillors,  Asgard,2  called  also  Asaheim  (home  of 
the  Asar),  and  Godheim  (home  of  the  gods).  As,  in  the 
Northern  language,  afterwards  denoted  one  of  the  gods,  who 

1  Midgard — midr,  middle ;  gardrl  yard, 
enclosed  space  ;  also,  courtyard  and  pre- 
mises ;  a  house  in  a  village  or  town  ;  a 
stronghold;  a  fence  or  wall  ;  a  collection 
of  houses,  a  farm. 

-  Asgard  in  olden  times  meant  a  place 

surrounded  by  walls,  and  also  a  collec- 
tion of  houses  enclosed  by  a  fence,  hence 
the  modern  name  in  Scandinavia  of  gard 
for  farm.  The  residence  of  the  gods  is 
also  called  by  this  name  in  the  Edda. 


in  course  of  time  were  also  deified,  and  to  whom,  as  well  as  to 
Odin,  sacrifices  were  offered. 

Within  the  walls  of  Midgard,  which  encircled  Asgard,  was 
Mannheim,1  where  Odin's  adherents  dwelt,  and  hence  the 
name  of  their  country. 

"  They  gave  them  clothes  and  names ;  the  men  they  called 
Ash,  and  the  women  Embla.  From  them  all  mankind  is 
descended,  and  a  dwelling-place  was  given  them  under 
Midgard.  In  the  next  place  the  sons  of  Bor  made  for  them- 
selves, in  the  middle  of  the  world,  a  burgh  which  is  called 
Asgard,  and  which  we  call  Troja  (there  dwelt  the  gods  of 
their  race),  and  thence  resulted  many  tidings  and  adventures, 
both  on  earth  and  in  the  sky.  In  Asgard  is  a  place  called 
Hlidskjalf,  and  when  Odin  seats  himself  there  in  the  high  seat 
he  sees  all  over  the  whole  world,  and  wrhat  every  man  is  doing, 
and  he  knew  all  things  that  he  saw.  His  wife  was  Frigg,  and 
she  was  the  daughter  of  Fjorgvin,  and  from  their  offspring  are 
descended  the  race  which  we  call  Asar,  who  inhabited  Asgard 
the  ancient,  the  realm  that  surrounds  it,  and  all  that  race  are 
known  to  be  gods,  and  for  that  reason  Odin  is  called  Allfather  " 
(Later  Edda). 

After  Midgard  had  been  built  for  the  sons  of  men,  there  is 
a  golden  age  on  the  Ida-voll  (plain  of  movement).  Altars  and 
hearths  were  raised  by  the  Asar,  showing  that  w:ork  is  con- 
ducive to  happiness. 

They  played  chess  on  the  grass-plot ; 

The  Asar  met,  They  were  cheerful; 

Who  raised  ou  the  Idavoll  They  did  not  lack 

Altars  and  high  temples  ;  Anything  of  gold 

They  laid  hearths,  Until  three 

They  wrought  wealth,  Very  mighty 

They  shaped  tongs,  Thurs  maidens  came  (Nornir) 

And  made  tools.  From  Jotunheim. 

Then  followed  a  great  battle  between  the  Asar  and  their 
neighbours,  the  Vanir.  The  Asar  seem  to  have  been  at  first 
defeated,  but  afterwards  made  peace.  This  fight  is  the  most 
obscure  part  of  the  whole  of  Voluspa. 

That  fight  remembers  she 
First  in  the  world, 

When  they  pierced 
frullveig2  with  spears, 

1  Mannheimar  (always  in  plural  mann- 
/icimar,  the  singular  is  mannheirri)  means 
homes  of  men. 

-  The  word  Gullv-i'/  is  only  found  as  a 
compound  word  this  once  in  the  liter- 
ature of  the  North.  Gull  =  gold;  veig 


And  burnt  her 
In  the  hall  of  Har ;' 
Thrice  they  burnt 
The  thrice-born  one, 
Yet  still  she  lives. 

Then  all  the  gods  went 
To  their  judgment  seats, 
The  most  holy  gods, 
And  counselled  about 
Whether  the  Asar  should 
Tribute  pay,2 

Or  if  all  the  gods 
Should  have  a  feast. 

Odin  had  hurled  the  spear 
And  shot  at  the  host ; 
That  was  moreover  the  first 
Fight  in  the  world. 
Broken  was  the  timber  wall 
Of  the  Asa-burgh  ; 
The  war- ex  posed  plains 
The  Vanir  trampled  on. 

A  fight  is  also  mentioned  in  the  Yngliuga  Saga  which  seems 
to  be  the  same  as  the  one  referred  to  in  Voluspa. 

"  Odin  went  with  a  host  against  the  Vanir,  but  they  with- 
stood him  well  and  defended  their  land.  Asar  and  Vanir  got 
the  victory  by  turns  ;  each  waged  war  in  the  other's  land  and 
plundered.  When  they  became  tired  of  this  they  appointed 
a  meeting  for  agreement  between  themselves,  and  made  peace 
and  gave  each  other  hostages.  The  Vanir  gave  their  foremost 
men,  Njorcl  the  wealthy  and  his  son  Frey,  and  the  Asar  gave 
a  man  called  Hrenir,  and  said  he  was  well  fitted  to  be  a  chief. 
He  was  a  tall  and  very  handsome  man.  The  Asar  sent  with 
him  a  man  called  Mimir,  who  was  very  wise  ;  in  exchange  for 
him  the  Vanir  gave  one,  who  was  the  wisest  among  them, 
called  Kvasir.  When  Hoenir  came  to  Vanaheim  he  was  at 
once  made  chief ;  Mimir  taught  him  everything.  And  when 
Hoanir  was  at  the  Things  or  meetings,  and  Mimir  was  not 
near,  and  some  difficult  cases  were  taken  to  him,  he  always 
gave  the  same  answer,  '  Let  others  say  what  is  to  be  done.' 
Then  the  Vanir  suspected  that  the  Asar  had  deceived  them  in 
the  exchange  of  men.  They  took  Mimir  and  beheaded  him, 
and  sent  his  head  to  the  Asar.  Odin  took  the  head  and 
besmeared  it  with  the  juice  of  plants,  so  that  it  could  not  rot. 
He  sang  charms  over  it,  and  by  spells  made  it  so  powerful  that 
it  spoke  with  him,  and  told  him  many  unknown  things " 
(Ynglinga,  c.  4). 

=  draught,  also  strength.  It  may  be 
a  metaphor  for  the  thirst  of  gold  being 
the  root  of  evil,  and  the  cause  of  the 
first  fight  and  manslaying  in  the  world, 
as  the  thirst  is  never  dying. 

1  Har  -  Odin. 

2  Here   evidently    the    reference  is   to 
the  war  between  the  Vanir  and  the  Asar. 

This  shows  that  they  had  been  defeated. 
Feast  means  sacrifice,  which  was  always 
followed  by  the  feast ;  this  would  imply 
that  they  wanted  to  make  a  sacrifice  for 
peace  or  victory. 

3  A  stockade  made  like  Danavirki  or 
other  stiongholds  in  the  north. 

THOR  AND  TYH.  17 

Thor  was  one  of  the  greatest  of  the  Norse  gods  after  Odin  ; 
indeed,  these  with  Frey  formed  a  sort  of  triad. 

"Thor  is  the  foremost  of  them  (the  gods)  ;  he  is  called  Asa- 
Thor  or  Oku-Thor.  He  is  the  strongest  of  all  gods  and  men. 
His  realm  is  Thrudvangar  (=  plains  of  strength),  and  his  hall 
is  called  Bilskirnir  ;  in  it  there  are  540  rooms.  It  is  the 
largest  house  built  by  men.  (See  Grimnismal.)  Thor  owns 
two  he-goats,  which  are  called  Tanngnjost  (tooth-gnasher)  and 
Tanngiisnir  (tooth-gnasher),  and  a  chariot  (reid),  on  which  he 
drives  and  the  he-goats  draw  it.  Therefore  he  is  called  Oku- 
Thor  (  =  the  driving  Thor).  He  also  owns  three  costly  things. 
One  of  them  is  the  hammer  Mjolnir  which  the  Hrim  Thursar 
and  Berg  Kisar  know  when  it  is  aloft,  and  that  is  not  strange, 
for  he  has  broken  many  a  head  of  their  fathers  or  kinsmen. 
The  next  best  of  his  costly  things  is  the  belt  of  strength. 
When  he  girds  himself  with  it  his  Asa-strength  doubles. 
He  owns  a  third  thing,  which  is  worth  much,  iron-gloves, 
without  which  he  cannot  hold  the  handle  of  the  hammer.  No 
man  is  so  wise  that  he  may  reckon  up  all  his  great  feats,  but 
I  can  tell  thee  so  many  tales  of  him  that  the  hours  will  be 
whiled  away  before  I  have  told  all  that  I  know." 

"  Har  said  :  '  Furthermore  there  is  an  As  called  Tyr.  He  is 
the  boldest  and  most  daring  and  has  much  power  over  victory 
in  battles.  It  is  useful  for  valiant  men  to  make  vows  to  him. 
It  is  a  saying  that  the  one  surpassing  others  in  valour  and 
fearing  nothing  is  Ty-brave.  He  is  so  wise  that  the  wisest 
man  is  called  Ty-wise.  One  of  the  proofs  of  his  daring  is  this. 
When  the  Asar  persuaded  the  Fenriswolf  to  allow  them  to  tie 
it  with  the  chain  Gleipnir,  it  did  not  believe  that  they  would 
untie  it  till  they  laid  Tyr's  hand  into  its  mouth  as  a  pledge. 
When  they  would  not  untie  it  then  it  bit  off  his  hand  at  the 
place  now  called  Wolf-joint  (wrist).  He  is  therefore  onehanded 
and  said  not  to  be  the  reconciler  of  men'  '  /Later  Edda, 

The  Later  Edda  differs  from  the  Grimnismal  in  giving  the 
number  of  gods  or  Asar  which  it  mentions.  When  Gylfi  asks 
how  many  Asar  there  are  he  is  told  twelve,  and  the  names  of 
Odin,  Hod,  and  Baldr  are  omitted  from  the  list.  Only  a  few  of 
these  gods  seem  to  have  been  of  sufficient  prominence  to  have 
had  sacrifices  offered  to  them,  as  is  seen  in  the  chapter  on 
Religion,  and  we  cannot  depend  on  the  Later  Edda  for  reliable 
information  concerning  them. 


"The  Asar  went  to  their  feast,  and  the  twelve  Asar  who 
were  to  be  judges  sat  down  in  the  highseats :  their  names 
were — Thor,  Njord,  Frey,  Tyr,  Heimdall,  Bragi,  Vidar,  Vali, 
Ull,  Hcenir,  Forseti,  Loki  "  (Later  Edda). 

The  following  extract  from  the  Later  Edda  gives  us  the 
names  of  the  principal  goddesses,  with  their  leading  charac- 

"  Gangleri  said  :  '  Who  are  the  Asynjar  ? '  Har  answered  : 
'Frigg  is  the  highest;  she  has  a  very  splendid  house  called 
Fensalir.  The  second  is  Saga,  who  lives  at  Sokkvabekk,  a 
large  place.  The  third  is  Eir ;  she  is  the  most  skilled 
healer  (  =  physician).  The  fourth  is  Gefjon,  who  is  a  maiden, 
and  those  who  die  as  maidens  wait  upon  her.  The  fifth  is 
Fulla ;  she  is  also  a  maiden  with  loose  hair,  and  wears  a  golden 
band  round  her  head ;  she  carries  the  ashen  box  of  Frigg 
and  takes  care  of  her  shoe-clothes  (  =  shoes  and  stockings), 
and  partakes  in  her  secret  counsels.  Freyja  is  ,next  in 
rank  to  Frigg  ;  she  is  married  to  a  man  called  Od,  their 
daughter  is  Hnoss ;  she  is  so  beautiful  that  fine  and  costly 
things  are  called  after  her — hnoss.  Od  went  far  off  and  left 
Freyja  weeping,  and  her  tears  are  red  gold.  She  has  many 
names ;  that  is  because  she  called  herself  by  different  names 
when  she  went  among  foreign  nations  in  search  of  Od ; 
she  is  called  Mardoll,  Horn,  Gefn,  and  Syr.  She  owns  the 
Brisinga  necklace.  She  is  called  Vanadis  (dis  (goddess)  of 
the  Vanir).  The  seventh  is  Sjofn  ;  she  applies  herself  much 
to  turning  the  minds  of  men  to  love,  both  males  and  females  ; 
from  her  name  a  loving  mind  is  called  sjafm.  Lofn  is  so 
mild  and  good  to  invoke  that  she  gets  Allfodr  (Odin)  or  Frigg 
to  allow  the  marriages  of  men,  male  and  female,  though  they 
have  been  forbidden  or  flatly  refused  ;  from  her  name  is  lof 
(leave),  and  that  which  is  lofat  (=  praised)  by  men.  Var 
listens  to  the  oaths  of  men  and  the  private  agreements  which 
men  and  women  make  between  themselves ;  these  are  called 
vdrar,  and  she  punishes  those  who  break  them.  Vor  is  wise 
and  asks  many  questions,  so  that  nothing  can  be  hidden  from 
her ;  when  a  woman  knows  a  thing  she  is  vor  ( =  aware)  of 
it.  Syn  guards  the  door  of  the  hall  (Valhalla)  and  shuts 
it  to  those  who  are  not  to  enter  ;  therefore  when  some  one 
denies  a  thing  he  is  said  to  put  down  syn  ( =-  negation,  refuse). 
Hlin  has  to  guard  the  men  whom  Frigg  wishes  to  save  from 
danger.  Snotra  is  wise  and  of  good  manners ;  a  wise  man  or 
woman  is  called  snotr  from  her  name.  Gna,  Frigg  sends  into 
various  worlds  on  her  errands ;  she  has  a  horse  which  runs 


on  air  and  water,  called  Hojhvarfiiir  (  =  hoof-turner) "  ('  Later 
Edda,'  Gylfaginning,  35). 

The  gods,  it  would  seem,  had  it  in  their  power,  if  not  to 
secure  everlasting  life,  at  least  to  retain  perpetual  youth, 
unlike  poor  Tithonus  of  the  well-known  Greek  myth.  It  may 
not  be  inappropriate  to  continue  here  the  legend  relating 
to  this.  Idun,  the  wife  of  Bragi,  who  was  celebrated  for  his 
wisdom  and  eloquence,  kept  in  a  box  the  apples  which  when 
the  gods  felt  old  age  approaching  they  ate  in  order  that  they 
might  keep  their  youth  till  Ragnarok. 

"Odin,  Loki  and  Hoenir  went  from  home  over  mountains 
and  uninhabited  land,  and  it  was  not  easy  for  them  to  get  food. 
When  they  came  down  into  a  valley  they  saw  a  herd  of  oxen, 
took  one  of  them  and  prepared  it  for  the  fire.  When  they 
thought  it  was  cooked  they  took  it  off,  but  it  was  not  cooked. 
A  second  time,  after  waiting  a  little,  they  took  it  off,  and 
it  was  not  cooked.  They  considered  what  might  be  the 
cause  of  this.  Then  they  heard  a  voice  in  the  tree  above 
them  which  said  that  he  who  sat  there  caused  this.  They 
looked  up,  and  a  large  eagle  sat  there.  The  eagle  said  : 
'  If  you  will  give  ine  my  fill  of  the  ox,  it  shall  be  cooked.' 
They  assented,  and  the  bird  came  slowly  down  from  the  tree,  sat 
down  on  the  hearth,  and  at  once  gobbled  up  the  four  shoulder- 
pieces  of  the  ox.  Loki  got  angry,  took  a  large  pole,  raised 
it,  and  with  all  his  strength  struck  the  eagle.  At  the  blow 
the  eagle  flew  into  the  air.  The  pole  adhered  to  its  body, 
and  the  hands  of  Loki  to  one  end  of  it.  The  eagle  flew  so 
that  Loki's  feet  touched  the  rocks,  the  stone-heaps  and  the 
trees.  He  thought  his  hands  would  be  torn  from  his  shoulders. 
He  shouted,  eagerly  asking  the  eagle  to  spare  him,  but  it 
answered  that  Loki  would  never  get  loose  unless  he  swore 
to  make  Idun  leave  Asgard  with  her  apples.  Loki  promised 
this,  got  loose  and  went  to  his  companions,  and  no  more 
tidings  are  told  about  their  journey  till  they  reached  home. 
At  the  appointed  time  Loki  enticed  Idun  to  go  to  a  wood 
out  of  Asgard  by  saying  he  had  found  apples  which  she 
would  prefer  to  her  own,  and  asked  her  to  take  her  own  apples 
with  her  to  compare  them.  Thjassi  Jotun  then  came  in  an 
eagle's  shape  and  took  Idun  and  flew  away  to  his  abode 
in  Thrymheim.  The  Asar  were  much  grieved  at  the  disap- 
pearance of  Idun,  and  soon  became  grey-haired  and  old.  They 
held  a  Thing  and  asked  each  other  for  news  of  Idun.  The 
last  seen  of  her  was  when  she  walked  out  of  Asgard  with  Loki. 
He  was  brought  to  the  Thing  and  threatened  with  death  or 

VOL.  I.  E 


torture.  He  got  afraid  and  said  he  would  fetch  Idun  from 
Jotunheim,  if  Freyja  would  lend  him  the  hawk-skin  which 
she  owned.  When  he  got  it  he  flew  north  to  Jotunheim, 
and  one  day  came  to  Thjassi  Jotun,  who  was  sea-fishing. 
Idun  was  alone  at  home.  Loki  changed  her  into  a  nut,  held 
her  in  his  claws  and  flew  as  fast  as  he  could.  When  the 
Asar  saw  the  hawk  flying  with  the  nut  and  the  eagle  pur- 
suing they  went  to  the  Asgard-wall  and  carried  thither 
bundles  of  plane-shavings.  When  the  hawk  flew  into  the 
burgh  it  came  down  at  the  wall.  The  Asar  set  fire  to  the 
plane-shavings,  but  the  eagle  could  not  stop  when  it  lost 
the  hawk,  and  the  fire  caught  its  feathers  and  stopped  it.  The 
Asar  were  near,  and  slew  Thjassi  inside  the  Asgard-wall, 
which  is  a  very  famous  deed.  Skadi,  his  daughter,  took 
helmet  and  brynja  and  a  complete  wardress,  and  went  to 
Asgard  to  avenge  her  father.  The  Asar  offered  her  recon- 
ciliation and  wergild,1  and  first  that  she  might  choose  a  hus- 
band from  among  them,  not  seeing  more  than  their  feet.  She 
saw  a  pair  of  very  beautiful  feet,  and  said  :  '  This  one  I  choose  ; 
few  things  can  be  ugly  in  Baldr.'  But  it  was  Njord  of  Noatiin." 
(Later  Edda,  Bragaroedur,  c.  56.) 

1   Wergild,  indemnity. 



The  Odin  of  the  North — The  forefathers  of  the  English— Their  migration 
from  the  shores  of  the  Black  sea — The  geographical  knowledge  of  the 
Norsemen — Tyrkland  the  home  of  Odin — Sigrlami,  one  of  the  sons  of 
Odin — Odin  establishes  his  family  in  the  North — Death  of  Odin  in  the 
North — Attributes  of  Odin — Poetical  names  of  Odin — Sleipnir,  the  horse 
of  Odin — Odin  as  a  one-eyed  man. 

IN  the  Norse  literature  we  find  Odin  referred  to  not  only  as 
a  god,  but  as  a  hero  and  leader  of  men.  It  is  not  necessary  to 
believe  that  any  real  person  of  the  name  of  Odin  ever  existed, 
but  from  the  frequency  with  which  a  migration  northwards  is 
mentioned,  and  from  the  details  with  which  it  is  described,  it 
is  legitimate  to  infer  that  the  predecessor  of  the  Norsemen 
came  from  the  south  or  south-east  of  Europe — probably,  to 
judge  from  literature  and  archaeology  combined,  from  the 
shores  of  the  Black  Sea. 

At  the  time  of  Odin's  arrival  in  the  North  we  find  not  only 


a  country  called  Gardariki,  which  is  often  mentioned  in  the 
Sagas,  and  seems  to  have  adjoined  the  south-eastern  shores  of 
the  Baltic,  but  also  the  large  Scandinavian  peninsula  and  that 
of  Jutland,  and  the  islands  and  shores  of  the  Baltic,  populated 
by  a  seafaring  people  whose  tribes  had  constant  intercourse 
with  each  other,  and,  to  judge  by  the  finds,  seem  to  have  had 
an  identical  religion.  These  people  intermarried  with  the  Asar 
who  came  north  with  Odin,  and  hence  arose  tribes  called  half- 
Eisar  and  half-Troll. 

"  It  is  written  in  old  books  that  Alfheimar l  were  north  in 
Gandvik  and  Ymisland,  between  it  and  Halogaland.  And 
before  the  Tyrkjar  and  Asiamen  came  to  the  Northern  lands, 
Risar  and  half-Risar  lived  there  ;  then  the  nations  (peoples) 

1  Alfheimar.  In  one  text,  Jb'tunheimar. 
In  later  times  Risar,  Troll,  and  Dvergar 

became  synonymous  with  giants,  dwarfs, 

and  wizards. 

E    2 



were  much  mixed  together ;  the  Eisar  got  wives  from  Mann- 
heimar,  and  some  of  them  married  their  daughters  there  " 
(Hervarar  Saga,  ch.  i.). 

The  account  given  in  the  Hervarar  Saga  agrees  with  that  in 
the  Ynglinga  Saga,  which  is  important  not  only  as  giving  an 
idea  of  the  conception  the  people  of  the  North  had  of  our 
world,  but  as  describing  the  names  of  the  lands  and  countries 
mentioned  in  the  earlier  Eddas  and  Sagas. 

"  The  round  of  the  world  on  which  men  dwell  is  much  cut 
by  the  sea ;  lai'ge  seas  stretch  from  the  outer  sea  round  the 
earth  into  the  land.  It  is  known  that  a  sea  runs  from  Njorva- 
sund  (Straits  of  Gibraltar)  all  the  way  up  to  Jorsalaland  (the 
land  of  Jerusalem).  From  it  a  long  bay  runs  north-east, 
called  the  Black  Sea,  which  separates  the  three  parts  of  the 
world ;  the  part  east  of  it  is  called  Asia,  but  the  one  west  of  it 
is  called  Europa  by  some,  and  Enea  by  others.  North  of  the 
Black  Sea  is  the  great  or  the  cold  Sweden ;  some  say  that 
Sweden  is  no  smaller  than  Serklaud  (the  laud  of  Saracens) 
the  great ;  some  say  she  is  as  large  as  Blaland  (the  land 
of  the  blue  (black)  men)  the  great.  The  northern  part  of 
Swede-n  is  uninhabited,  011  account  of  frost  and  cold,  as  the 
southern  part  of  Blaland  is  on  account  of  the  sun's  burning 
heat.  In  Sweden  there  are  many  large  herads  (districts). 

There  are  also  many  kinds  of  people  and  many  tongues  :  there 
are  Asar,  Dvergar,  and  Blamenn  (blue  (black)  men),  and  many 
kinds  of  strange  people  ;  there  are  beasts  and  dragons  wonder- 
fully large.  From  the  north,  in  mountains  which  are  beyond 
all  settlements,  a  river  springs  that  flows  through  Sweden  ;  its 
right  name  is  Tanais ;  it  was  in  old  times  called  Tanakvisl,1 
or  Vana-kvisl ;  it  flows  into  the  Black  Sea.  The  land  round 
Vanakvisl  was  then  called  Vanaland  or  Vauaheim  (home  or 
world  of  the  Vanir).  This  river 2  separates  the  two-thirds  of 
the  world;  east  of  it  is  Asia,  and  West  of  it  is  Europa" 
(Ynglinga  Saga,  1). 

"  A  large  mountain  ridge  runs  from  north-east  to  south- 
west;  it  separates  Sweden  the  Great3  from  other  lands. 
South  of  the  mountain,  not  far  off,  is  Tyrkland ;  there 
Odin  owned  a  great  deal  of  land.  At  that  time  the  chiefs 

1  Kvisl — a  forked  river,  one  of  the 
forks  where  they  unite — it  also  means  a 
branch  of  a  tree. 

Vana-kvisl  means  the  river  of  the 
Vanir ;  it  is  supposed  now  that  it  was 
the  river  Don  which  flows  into  the  Sea 

of  Azow,  but  it  is  doubtful. 

2  This    was   probably   the    river   Don, 
which  is  near  the  Ural  Mountains. 

3  Svithjod    the    Great    seems    to    be 
Russia — Norway,  Sweden,  perhaps  Den- 
mark and  the  shores  of  the  Baltic. 



of  the  Romverjar  (Romans)  went  widely  about  the  world 
and  underlaid  (conquered)  all  nations  ;  and  many  chiefs  on 
that  account  left  their  lands.  As  Odin  was  foreknowing 
and  skilled  in  witchcraft  he  knew  that  his  descendants 
would  live  in  the  northern  part  of  the  world.  Then  he 
set  his  brothers  Vili  and  Ye  to  rule  Asgard  ;  he  left,  and 
all  the  Diar  with  him,  and  many  folk.  First  he  went  west- 
wards to  Gardariki,  then  southwards  to  Saxland.  He  had 
many  sons ;  he  became  owner  of  land  at  many  places  in  Sax- 
land,  and  left  his  sons  to  defend  Saxland.  Then  he  went 
northwards  to  the  sea  and  settled  on  an  island  ;  that  place  is 
now  called  Odinsey  (Odin's  island)  in  Fjon  (Fyen).  Then 
he  sent  Gefjon  1  northwards  across  the  Sound  to  discover  lands  ; 
she  came  to  Gylfi,  and  he  gave  her  one  plough-land.  Then 
she  went  to  Jotimheim  and  there  got  four  sons  by  a  Jotun ; 
she  changed  them  into  oxen,  and  harnessed  them  to  the  plough, 
and  drew  the  land  out  to  sea,  and  westwards,  opposite  to 
Odinsey,  and  the  land  is  called  Selund  (Zealand)  ;  she  after- 
wards lived  there.  Skjold,  a  son  of  Odin,  married  her;  they 
lived  at  Hleidra  (Leire).  There  is  a  lake  or  sea  called  Log 
(Malaren).  The  fjords  in  the  Log  lie  as  the  nesses  in  Selund. 
When  Odin  heard  that  Gylfi's  land  was  good  he  went  there, 
and  he  and  Gylfi  made  an  agreement,  for  Gylfi  thought  he 
had  not  strength  enough  to  withstand  the  Asar.  Many 
devices  and  spells  did  Odin  and  Gylfi  use  against  each  other, 
and  the  Asar  always  got  the  better  of  them.  Odin  took  up 
his  abode  at  the  Log  (Malaren),  which  is  now  called  the  old 
Sigtiinir ;  there  he  made  a  great  temple  and  sacrificed  accord- 
ing to  the  custom  of  the  Asar.  He  gave  abodes  to  the  temple- 
priests  ;  Njord  lived  at  Noatiin,  Frey  at  Uppsalir,  Heimdall  at 
Himinbjorg,  Thor  at  Thrudvang,  Baldr  at  Breidablik  ;  he  gave 
good  abodes  to  them  all "  (YngJinga,  c.  5). 

While  Odin,  according  to  the  sages,  was  in  Sweden2  his  son 
Sigrlami  ruled  over  Gardariki ;  during  the  life  of  his  father  or 
after  his  death  he  had  to  fight  against  the  Jotnar,  and,  like 
Skjold  his  brother,  he  married  a  daughter  of  King  Gylfi,  who 
ruled  over  the  present  Sweden,  whose  authority  is  made  to 
extend  to  the  principal  islands  which  form  part  of  the  present 



"At  this  time  the  Asia-men  and  Tyrkjar  came  from  the 
east  and  settled  in  the  northern  lands;  their  leader  was 

1   Gefjon  was  one  of  the  Asynjur. 

-  Svithj6d  =  Sweden,  but  it  can  hardly 

be  taken  in  these  early  Sagas  as  exactly 
corresponding  to  modern  Sweden. 


called  Odin  ;  he  had  many  sons,  and  they  all  became  great 
and  strong  men.  One  of  his  sons  was  called  Sigrlami ;  to  him 
Odin  gave  the  realm  now  called  Gardariki ;  he  became  a  great 
chief  over  that  land  ;  he  was  handsomer  than  any  man.  He 
was  married  to  Heid,  the  daughter  of  King  Gylfi ;  they  had  a 
son  called  Svafrlami."  (Hervarar,  c.  2). 

Sigrlami  fell  in  a  fight  against  Thjassi  the  Jotun.  When 
Svafrlami  heard  of  his  father's  death  he  took  for  himself  all 
his  realm,  and  became  a  powerful  man.  It  is  said  that  on  one 
occasion  when  riding  in  a  forest  he  chased  a  stag  for  a  long 
time,  and  did  not  kill  it  until  sunset,  when  he  had  ridden  so 
far  into  the  forest  that  he  lost  his  way.  He  saw  a  large  stone 
and  two  Dvergar  beside  it,  whom  he  was  going  to  sacrifice  to 
the  gods,  but  on  their  begging  to  be  allowed  to  give  a  ransom 
for  their  lives  Svafrlami  asked  their  names.  One  was  called 
Dyrin,  the  other  Dvalin.  Svafrlami  at  once  recognised  them 
to  be  the  most  skilful  of  Dvergar,  and  insisted  upon  their 
making  a  sword  for  him,  the  hilt  to  be  of  gold,  and  the 
scabbard  to  be  ornamented  and  inlaid  with  gold.  The  sword 
was  never  to  fail,  and  never  to  rust ;  to  cut  iron  and  stone 
as  well  as  cloth  ;  and  it  was  to  bring  victory  in  all  battles 
and  duels  (einvigi)  to  every  one  who  carried  it. 

On  the  appointed  day  Svafrlami  came  to  the  rock  ;  the 
Dvergar  gave  him  the  sword;  but  Dvalin,  standing  in  the 
door  of  the  stone,  said  :  "  Thy  sword,  Svafrlami,  shall  be  a 
man's  bane  (death)  every  time  it  is  drawn ;  and  with  it  shall 
be  performed  the  greatest  nithiug's  deed ;  it  also  will  be  thy 
death."  Svafrlami  then  struck  at  the  Dvergar  so  that  both 
edges  of  the  sword  entered  into  the  rock,  but  the  Dvergar 
ran  into  the  rock.  Svafrlami,  we  are  told,  called  the  sword 
Tyrfing,  and  carried  it  in  battles  and  single  fights ;  with  it  he 
killed  in  a  duel  Thjassi  the  Jotun,  his  father's  slayer,  whose 
daughter  Frid  he  married  ''  (Hervarar  Saga,  c.  3). 

We  not  only  have  accounts  of  how  this  Odin  established  his 
family  in  the  North,  but  also  how  he  died  there.  Feeling 
that  his  days  were  coming  to  an  end,  he  prepared  to  die  on  a 
pyre,  as  was  the  custom  of  those  times ;  and  we  find  the  belief 
existed  that  after  his  death  he  returned  to  the  old  Asgard. 

"  Odin  fell  sick  and  died  in  Sweden.  When  he  was  at 
death's  door  he  let  himself  be  marked  (wounded)  with  a  spear- 
point,  and  said  he  was  the  owner  of  all  the  men  slain  by 
weapons,  and  would  go  into  Godheim  (the  world  of  the  gods), 

ODIN.  55 

arid  there  welcome  his  friends.  Now  the  Swedes  thought  he 
had  gone  to  the  old  Asgard,  and  would  live  there  for  ever. 
Then  there  again  arose  worship  of  Odin,  and  vows  were  made 
to  him.  The  Swedes  often  thought  he  appeared  to  them  in 
dreams  on  the  eve  of  great  battles  ;  to  some  he  gave  victory, 
others  he  invited  home ;  either  of  these  alternatives  was  con- 
sidered good.  After  death  he  was  burnt  with  great  splendour.1 
It  was  their  belief  that  the  higher  the  smoke  rose  in  the  air 
the  more  glorious  would  the  burnt  man  be  in  heaven,2  and 
the  more  property  that  was  burnt  with  him  the  wealthier 
would  he  be  "  (Ynglinga  Saga,  c.  10). 

Whether  a  hero  and  leader  of  the  name  of  Odin  ever  lived 
or  not  we  cannot  tell,  but  that  we  know  from  the  records  the 
people  believed  that  he  and  the  Asar  had  existed,  and  the 
creed  they  had  established  was  their  religion ;  and  this  belief 
lasted  with  many  to  the  end  of  the  pagan  era,  which  did  not 
entirely  disappear  till  the  twelfth  century.  Odin  and  some  of 
the  Asar  were  deified  and  worshipped  in  all  the  countries  of 
the  North,  and  with  the  lapse  of  time  their  fame  increased. 

"  Odin  was  a  mighty  warrior  and  travelled  far  and  wide,  and 
became  owner  of  many  realms  (countries).  He  was  so  success- 
ful that  in  every  battle  he  gained  the  victory,  and  at  last  his 
men  believed  that  in  every  battle  victory  was  in  his  power. 
It  was  his  custom,  when  he  sent  his  men  into  fight  or  on  other 
errands,  first  to  lay  his  hands  011  their  heads  and  give  them 
bjanak ; 3  they  believed  that  luck  would  then  be  with  them. 
Also  it  happened  that  whenever  his  men  were  in  need  on  laud 
or  at  sea  they  called  on  his  name,  and  always  felt  relieved 
by  it ;  for  every  kind  of  help  they  looked  to  him.  He  often 
went  so  far  away  that  he  was  on  a  journey  many  seasons" 
(Ynglinga,  c.  2). 

"  It  is  said  with  truth  that  when  Asa-Odin,  and  with  him 
the  Diar,4  carne  into  the  northern  lands,  they  began  and  taught 
those  idrottir5  which  men  afterwards  long  practised.  Odin 
was  the  foremost  of  them  all,  and  from  him  they  learned  the 
idrottir,  for  he  first  knew  them  all,  and  more  than  any  other. 
He  was  highly  honoured  on  account  of  the  following  things. 
He  looked  so  fair  and  noble  when  he  sat  with  his  friends  that 

1  People  were  buried  with  their  wealth. 

-  The  one  who  owned  the  burning  ill 
the  text.  Heaven  means  space,  not  a 
blessed  abode. 

3  This  word  is  not  found  elsewhere  in 

Scandinavian  literature. 

*  See  priest. 

5   Idr6ttir,    a    name   for    all    kinds   of 
athletic'  and  intellectual  games. 



every  mind  was  delighted ;  but  when  he  was  in  a  host,  then 
he  looked  fierce  to  his  foes.  This  was  because  he  knew  the 
idrottir  of  changing  looks  and  shapes  in  any  way  he  liked. 
Another  of  his  idrottir  was  that  he  spoke  with  such  skill  and 
so  glibly  that  all  who  listened  thought  it  the  only  truth ;  he 
always  spoke  in  poetry  (hendingar)  like  that  which  now  is 
called  skaldskap  (skaldship,  poetry).  He  and  his  temple- 
priests  are  called  Ljodasmidir  (lay-smiths,  song-smiths),  for 
that  idrott  came  from  them  into  the  northern  lands.  Odin 
had  power  to  cause  his  foes  to  grow  blind  or  deaf  or  full  of 
fear,  and  to  make  their  weapons  bite  no  more  than  wands 
(sticks  of  wood).  His  own  men  fought  without  armour 
madly,  like  dogs  or  wolves,  bit  their  shields,  and  had  the 
strength  of  a  bear  or  bull ;  they  cut  down  the  foe,  and  neither 
fire  nor  iron  hurt  them.  That  is  called  berserksgang  (rage 
or  fury  of  Berserks)  "  (Ynglinga,  c.  6-7). 

In  the  poetical  language  of  the  Sagas  and  Eddas  a  very 
great  number  of  figurative  names  are  given  to  Odin,  which 
show  how  numerous  his  attributes  were  believed  to  be,  and 
many  of  which  recall  the  language  of  Homer ;  among  them 
we  may  mention  : — 

The  thunderer.1 

Father  of  ages. 

The  wise  walker. 

The  lord. 

The  helmet  bearer. 

The  cheerful. 

The  loving  one. 

The  high  one. 

The  fickle. 

The  true-guessing  one. 

The  evil-eyed. 

The  mauifold. 

The  wise  in  beguiling. 

The  much  knowing. 

The  father  of  victory. 

The  father  of  the  slain. 

The  conqueror  in  fights. 

The  entangler. 

The  feared  one. 

The  rover. 

The   serpent  (from  his 

being  able  to  assume 

its  shape). 
The  soother. 
God  of  the  hanged.2 
God  of  the  ravens. 
God  of  victory. 
God  of  the  Gautar. 
The  shouting  god. 
The  one-eyed  one. 
The  fierce  one. 
God  of  the  earth. 
Friend  of  Mimir. 
The  foe  of  the  Fenrir- 

The  lord  of  the  spears. 

The  god  of  hosts. 
The  father  of  all. 
The  wish-god. 
The  wind-whispering. 
The  burner. 
The  wide-ruling. 
The  work-skilled. 
The  swift-riding. 
The  god  of  battle. 
The  almighty  god. 
The  host  blinder. 
The  true  one. 
The  long-bearded. 
The  god  of  cargoes. 
The  father  of  hosts. 
The  useful  adviser. 
The  shaper  of  battle. 
The  swift  rider. 

"  Then  Thridi  said  :  Odin  is  the  highest  and  oldest  of  the 
Asar;    he  rules  over   everything,   and,  however   mighty  the 

1  We  must  here  remark  that  nowhere       see   Havamal   where   he   is   said  to  have 

is  Thor  called  the  God  of  Thunder. 

y  See  Havamal,  the  lord  of  the  gallows  ; 

hung  on  a  tree. 

F.l'ITHETS  OF  <>I>1\. 


other  gods  are,  they  all  serve  him  us  children  a  father.  Frigg, 
his  wife,  knows  the  fates  of  men  though  she  cannot  prophesy. 
Odin  is  called  Allfodr,  because  he  is  the  lather  of  all  the  gods ; 
he  is  also  called  Valfodr,  because  all  those  who  fall  in  battle 
(valr  =  the  slain)  are  his  chosen  sons.  These  he  places  in 
Valholl  and  Vingolf  (a  hall  owned  by  the  goddesses),  and 
then  they  are  called  Einherjar.  He  is  also  called  Hanga-gud 
(god  of  the  hanged),  Hapta-gud  (god  of  the  chained),  and 
Farma-gud  (god  of  cargoes),  and  he  gave  himself  still  more 
names  when  he  was  at  King  Geirrod's  Gangleri  said : 
'  Wonderfully  many  names  have  you  given  to  him,  and  surely 
it  needs  great  wisdom  to  know  the  events  which  are  the 
reasons  of  every  one  of  these  names.'  Flar  answered  :  '  Great 
wits  are  needed  to  explain  this  carefully,  but,  to  tell  it  shortly, 
most  of  the  names  have  been  given  because,  as  there  are  many 
different  tongues  in  the  world,  every  nation  thinks  it  necessary 
to  change  his  name  according  to  their  language,  that  they 
may  invoke  and  pray  to  him  for  themselves.  His  journeys 
have  given  rise  to  some  of  these  names,  and  they  are  told 
among  people ' "  (Later  Edda,  c.  20). 

"  Two  ravens  J  sit  on  his  shoulders  and  tell  into  his  ears 
all  the  tidings,  which  they  see  or  hear ;  these  are  Hugin  and 
Munin.  At  the  dawn  of  day  he  sends  them  out  to  fly  all 
over  the  world,  and  they  come  back  at  day-meal  time  (the 
biggest  meal  of  the  day)  ;  hence  he  knows  many  tidings ; 
therefore  he  is  called  Hrafnagud  (Raven-god)"  (Gylfa- 
ginning,  c.  38). 

Among  the  earlier  myths  connected  with  Odin  may  be 
mentioned  the  following  account  of  the  origin  of  his  horse 

"  Gangleri  asked  :  '  Who  owns  Sleipnir  the  horse,  or  what 
hast  thou  to  tell  of  him  ? '  Har  answered  :  '  Thou  knowest 
nothing  about  Sleipnir  nor  whence  he  sprang,  but  it  will  seem 

1  Grimnisnml, 
these  ravens. 

19-20,    also    mentions 


The  battle-tamer  (Odin)  feeds 

Geri  and  Freki, 

The  famous  father  of  hosts  (Herjafodr) 

And  by  wine  alone 

The  weapon-famous 

Odin  always  lives. 


Hugin  and  Muuiu 
Fly  every  day 
Over  the  wide  earth  ; 
I  am  afraid  Hugin 
Will  not  come  back, 
P«ut  still  more  of  Muuin. 

Poetical  names  were  given  to  these 
ravens  by  Eyvind  Skalda-spillir;  they 
'are  called  the  Swans  of  Farmatyr  (the 
god  of  cargoes),  i.e.,  the  Swans  of  Odin. 


to  thee  worth  a  hearing.  In  early  times  when  the  gods  had 
built  up  Midgard  and  made  Valhalla  there  came  a  smith  who 
offered  to  make  a  burgh  for  them  in  three  seasons  (half- 
years)  so  good  that  it  would  be  strong  and  safe  against 

Fig.  1. — 'Earlier  runic  stone  at  Tjangvide,  Gotland,  with  the  eight-footed  horse  of  Odin. 
— Height  about  5  feet ;  width,  4  feet  4  inches;  thickness,  1  foot.  Another  similar 
stone  with  representation  (in  relief)  of  an  eight-footed  horse  has  been  found  also 
in  Laivide  in  Gotland. 

Bergrisar  (mountain-jotnar)  and  Hrimthursar,  though  they 
entered  Midgard.  In  the  place  of  wages  he  wanted  to  marry 
Freyja  and  get  the  sun  and  moon.  The  Asar  came  together 
to  counsel  among  themselves,  and  it  was  agreed  with  the 


smith  that  he  should  get  what  he  wanted  if  he  could  make 
the  burgh  in  one  winter,  but  if  any  part  of  it  was  unfinished 
on  the  first  day  of  summer  he  was  to  lose  his  pay ;  he  would 
not  be  allowed  to  use  the  help  of  any  man  in  the  work. 
When  they  told  him  these  conditions  he  asked  leave  to  make 
use  of  his  horse  Svadilfori ;  on  the  advice  of  Loki  this  was 
conceded  to  him.  The  first  day  of  winter  he  began  to  build 
the  burgh,  and  during  night  he  carried  stones  on  his  horse  to 
it;  the  Asar  wondered  much  how  the  horse  could  drag  such 
large  rocks,  and  it  did  much  more  work  than  the  smith. 
Strong  witnesses  were  brought  and  many  oaths  were  taken 
at  their  agreement,  because  the  jotun  thought  it  unsafe  to 
stay  with  the  Asar  if  Thor,  who  had  gone  to  Austrveg  (eastern 
countries)  to  kill  Jotnar,  should  come  home.  As  the  winter 
passed  the  building  of  the  burgh  proceeded,  and  it  was  so 
high  and  strong  that  it  could  not  be  taken.  When  three  days 
of  the  winter  were  left  it  was  almost  all  finished  except  the 
gate.  Then  the  gods  sat  down  on  their  judgment-seats  and 
tried  to  find  an  expedient ;  one  asked  the  other  on  whose 
advice  Freyja  was  to  be  married  in  Jotunheimar  and  air  and 
heaven  defiled  by  taking  sun  and  moon  away  and  giving 
them  to  the  Jotnar ;  they  all  agreed  that  the  causer  of  most 
evils,  Loki  Lanfeyjarson,  had  caused  this,  and  that  he  deserved 
an  evil  death  if  he  did  not  find  a  way  to  cause  the  smith  to 
lose  his  pay.  They  rushed  at  Loki,  who  got  afraid,  and  took 
oaths  that  he  would  manage,  whatever  it  might  cost  him,  that 
the  smith  should  lose  his  pav.  The  same  evening  when  the 

X         *t  fj 

smith  drove  out  with  his  horse  Svadilfori,  to  fetch  stones,  a 
mare  ran  out  of  the  wood  towards  it  and  neighed  to  it.  When 
the  stallion  saw  what  kind  of  horse  this  was  he  got  wild, 
tore  his  ropes  and  ran  towards  it ;  the  mare  ran  into  the 
wood,  and  the  smith  followed  and  wanted  to  get  hold  of  it, 
but  the  horses  continued  running  all  night,  and  no  work  was 
done  that  night ;  next  day,  as  before,  the  work  did  not  pro- 
ceed. When  the  smith  saw  that  the  work  could  not  be 
finished  he  got  into  Jotun-fury.  When  the  Asar  knew  for 
certain  that  he  was  a  Bergrisar  (mountain  jotun),  they  could 
not  keep  their  oaths  and  called  Thor ;  he  came  at  once,  and 
then  the  hammer  Mjollnir  went  aloft ;  he  paid  him  for  the 
work,  not  by  giving  him  the  sun  and  moon,  but  by  preventing 
him  from  living  in  Jotunheimar  ;  at  his  first  blow  the  jotun's 
skull  was  broken  into  small  bits,  and  he  was  sent  down  to 
Nifl-hel.  But  Loki  had  had  such  dealings  with  Svadilfori 
that  he  gave  birth  to  a  foal ;  it  was  grey,  and  with  eight  feet, 
and  it  is  the  best  horse  among  gods  and  men "  (Gylfa- 
ginning,  41-42). 



Odin  was  believed  not  only  to  give  victory  to  his  favourites, 
but  other  gifts,  and  is  represented  as  corning  to  the  aid  of  his 
followers,  in  the  guise  of  an  one-eyed  old  man- 

Ride  shall  we 

To  Valhalla, 

To  the  holy  place. 

Let  us  ask  the  father  of  hosts 

To  be  kind  (to  us) ; 

He  pays  and  gives 

Gold  to  his  host ; 

He  gave  to  Hermod 

A  helmet  and  brynja, 

And  to  Sigmund 

He  gave  a  sword. 

He  gives  victory  to  his  sons, 
And  wealth  to  some  ; 

Eloquence  to  rna»y, 
And  wisdom  to  men  ; 
Fair  winds  to  warriors, 
And  song  to  poets, 
And  luck  in  love 
To  many  a  man. 

She  (Freyja)  will  worship  Tlior, 

And  ask  him 

That  he  always 

Be  at  peace  with  thee ; 

Though  he  is  no  friend 

To  the  jotun- brides.1 


"  King  Siggeir  ruled  Gautland ;  he  was  powerful  and  had 
many  men ;  he  went  to  King  Yolsung  and  asked  him  to  give 
Signy  to  him  in  marriage.  The  king  and  his  sons  received 
this  offer  well ;  she  herself  was  willing,  but  asked  her  father 
to  have  his  way  in  this  as  in  other  things  referring  to  herself. 
Her  father  made  np  his  mind  that  she  should  be  married,  and 
she  was  betrothed  to  Siggeir.  The  wedding-feast  was  to  be  at 
King  Volsung's,  and  Siggeir  was  to  come  to  him.  The  king 
prepared  as  good  a  feast  as  he  could.  When  it  was  ready  the 
guests  and  Siggeir's  men  came  on  the  appointed  day  ;  Siggeir 
had  many  men  of  rank  with  him.  It  is  said  that  great  fires 
were  made  along  the  hall,2  and  the  large  tree  before  mentioned 
stoodt  in  the  middle  of  the  hall,  and  that  when  men  were 
sitting  before  the  fires  in  the  evening  a  man  walked  into  the 
hall  whom  they  did  not  know.  He  wore  a  spotted  hekla 
(frock) ;  he  was  barefooted,  and  had  linen  breeches  fastened  to 
his  legs ;  he  had  a  sword  in  his  hand,  and  wore  a  hood  low 
down  over  his  face ;  he  was  very  grey-haired,  and  looked  old, 
and  was  one-eyed.3  He  went  to  the  tree,  and  drew  the  sword, 
and  stuck  it  into  the  trunk  so  that  it  sank  up  to  the  hilt.  No 
man  dared  to  speak  to  him.  He  said:  '  He  who  pulls  this 
sword  out  of  the  trunk  shall  get  it  as  a  gift  from  me,  and  will 
find  that  he  never  had  a  better  sword  in  his  hand  than  this 
one.'  The  old  man  then  went  out,  and  no  one  knew  who  he 
was,  or  where  he  went.  Then  all  the  foremost  men  tried  to 

Because    he    was    always    fighting 
against  the  Jbtnar. 

•  The  fires  were  always  in  the  centre, 


3  This  man  was  Odin,  who  is  always 
represented  as  having  only  one  eye. 



pull  out  the  sword,  and  could  not.  Sigmund,  the  son  of  King 
Volsung,  pulled  it  out  as  easily  as  if  it  had  been  quite  loose. 
No  man  had  seen  so  good  a  sword,  and  Siggeir  offered  three 
times  its  weight  in  gold  for  it.  Sigmund  answered  that  he 
should  have  pulled  it  out ;  now  he  should  never  get  it,  though 
he  offered  all  the  gold  he  owned  "  (Volsunga,  c.  3X1 

Of  Odin  it  is  said 

"  Odin  changed  shapes  ;  then  his  body  lay  as  if  sleeping  or 
dead,  and  he  was  in  the  shape  of  a  bird  or  a  beast,  a  fish  or  a 
serpent,  and  in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye  went  into  far-off  lands 
on  his  own  errands  or  on  those  of  other  men.  Besides,  he  could, 
with  words  only,  extinguish  fire,  calm  the  sea,  and  turn  the 
winds  into  whatever  direction  he  wished.  He  had  a  ship 
called  Skidbladnir,  on  which  he  crossed  large  seas;  it  could 
be  folded  together  like  cloth.2  He  had  with  him  Mimir's 
head,  which  told  him  many  tidings  (news)  from  other  worlds. 
Sometimes  he  raised  (awaked)  dead  men  out  of  the  earth 
(ground ).  or  sat  down  beneath  hanged  men  (hanging  in 
gallows)  ;3  therefore  he  was  called  the  lord  (drottin)  of  the 
ghosts  or  of  the  hanged 3  He  had  two  ravens,  which  he 
taught  to  speak,  and  they  flew  far  and  wide  over  lands 
(countries)  and  told  him  many  tidings.  Therefore  be  became 
very  wise.  So  much  lewdness  followed  this  witchcraft  when 
it  was  practised  that  it  was  thought  a  disgrace  for  men  to 
practise  it;  and  the  priestesses  (gydjur)  were  taught  the  idrott. 
Odin  knew  where  property  was  hidden  in  the  ground,  and  he 
knew  songs  by  which  he  unlocked  (opened)  the  earth,  the 
rocks,  and  the  stones,  and  the  mounds,  and  bound  (held  fast) 
with  mere  words  those  who  dwelt  in  them,  and  went  in  and 
took  what  he  wished.  On  account  of  these  powers  he  became 
very  famous ;  his  foes  feared  him,  but  his  friends  trusted  in 
him  and  believed  in  him  and  his  power.  He  taught  most  of 
his  idrottir  to  the  sacrificing-priests ;  they  were  next  to  him 
in  all  wisdom  and  witchcraft.  Many  others,  however,  learned 
a  great  deal  of  them,  and  from  them  witchcraft  has  spread 
widely  and  been  kept  up  long.  But  men  worshipped  Odin 
and  the  twelve  chiefs  (hofdingi)  and  called  them  their  gods, 
and  believed  in  them  long  afterwards  "  (Ynglinga  Saga, 
ch.  7.) 

:  Cfr.  also  Volsunga  Saga,  c.  11. 

2  The  story  of  Odin's  ship  reminds  one 
of  the  tent  mentioned  iu  the  '  Arabian 
Nights,'  which  could  cover  an  army,  and 
yet  could  be  folded  and  carried  in  a 
small  pocket. 

3  Odin  himself  hung  in  Yggdrasil  to 
learn  wisdom,  and  this  is  a  like  custom 
(Havamal,  139)  ;  it  seems  that  Odin 
learned  wisdom  from  the  one  hanging  in 
the  gallows  by  sitting  under  it. 



Njord  the  successor  of  Odin — Frey  succeeds  Njord — A  great  temple  built  at 
Uppsalir  by  Frey — The  ship  of  Frey — Death  of  Frey — Frey's  death  kept 
secret  from  the  people — Freyja,  the  priestess — Fjolnir,  the  son  of  Yngvi 
Frey — Svegriir — Genealogies  of  the  Norse  chief's  from  Odin  Skjbld,  the 
founder  of  the  Danish  branch  of  chiefs. 

ACCORDING  to   the  sagas,  after  the  death  of  Odin,  Njord  of 
Noatiin  became  the  ruler  of  the  Swedes. 

"  Thereupon  Njord  of  Noatiin  became  ruler  over  the  Swedes, 
and  continued  the  sacrifices;  the  Swedes  called  him  their 
drottin  (lord)  ;  he  gathered  taxes  from  them.  In  his  days 
there  was  very  good  peace,  and  seasons  were  so  good  in  every 
respect  that  the  Swedes  believed  that  Njord  ruled  over  good 
seasons  and  the  wealth  and  welfare  of  men.  In  his  days  most 
of  the  Diar  died,  and  all  of  them  were  afterwards  burnt  and 
sacrificed  to.  Njord  fell  sick  and  died ;  he  also  let  himself  be 
marked  (with  a  spear)  before  he  died,  as  a  token  that  he 
belonged  to  Odin  The  Swedes  burnt  him,  and  wept  very  much 
over  his  mound"  (Ynglinga,  c.  11). 

"  Njord  of  Noatiin  then  begat  two  children.  His  son  was 
Frey  and  his  daughter  Freyja.  They  were  beautiful  in  looks 
and  mighty.  Frey  is  best  of  the  Asar.  He  rules  the  rain 
and  the  sunshine,  and  also  has  power  over  the  growth  of  the 
ground.  It  is  good  to  make  vows  to  him  for  good  seasons 
and  peace.  He  also  rules  over  men's  fortune  in  property." 
(Gyltaginning,  c.  24.) 

In  Vafthrudnismal  Odin   asks  Vafthrudnir   the   origin   of 


Odin.  Vafthrudnir. 

Tell  me  ...  In  Vanaheim 

Whence  Njord  came  The  wise  powers  shaped  him, 

Among  the  sons  of  Asar ;  And  gave  him  to  the  gods  as  a 
He  rules  hundred-fold  hostage ; 

Temples  and  altars  At  the  doom  of  the  world 

And   he  was   not   born   among  He  will  come  back  again, 

Asar.  Home  to  the  wise  Vanir. 



The  Njord  who  is  related  to  have  been  punished  by  uncon- 
trollable sadness  for  falling  in  love  with  Gerd  and  sitting  on 
Odin's  high-seat  is  a  mythical  Njord. 

"  A  man  was  called  Gymir  whose  wife  Orboda  was  of  Berg 
(mountain)  Kisar  kin.  Their  daughter  Gerd  was  the  most  beau- 
tiful of  all  women.  One  day  Frey  had  gone  to  EMdskjdlf1  and 
could  see  over  all  worlds.  When  he  looked  to  the  North 
he  saw  on  a  farm  a  large  and  fine  house  towards  which  a 
woman  was  walking.  When  she  lifted  her  arms,  opening  the 
door,  a  light  shone  from  them  on  the  sea,  and  the  air  and  all 
worlds  were  brightened  from  her.  His  great  boldness  in  sitting 
down  in  the  holy  seat  thus  was  revenged  upon  him,  for  he  went 
away,  full  of  sorrow.  When  he  came  home  he  did  not  speak 
or  sleep  or  drink  and  no  one  dared  question  him.  Then 
Njord  called  to  him  Skirnir,  the  shoe-boy  of  Frey,  and 
told  him  to  go  to  Frey,  address  him  and  ask  with  whom 
he  was  so  angry  that  he  would  not  speak  to  men.  Skirnir 
said  he  would  go,  though  not  willingly,  as  unfavourable 
answers  might  be  expected  from  him.  When  he  came  to 
Frey  he  asked  why  he  was  so  sad  and  did  not  speak  to  men. 
Frey  answered  that  he  had  seen  a  beautiful  woman  and  for 
her  sake  he  was  so  full  of  grief  that  he  would  not  live  long 
if  he  should  not  get  her.  '  Now  thou  shalt  go  and  ask  her 
in  marriage  for  me  and  take  her  home  hither  whether  her 
father  is  willing  or  not ;  I  will  reward  it  well.'  Skirnir  answered 
that  he  would  undertake  this  message  if  Frey  gave  him  his 
sword.  This  sword  was  so  good  that  it  fought  of  itself.  Frey 
did  not  fail  to  do  this  and  gave  it  to  him.  Skirnir  then  went 
and  asked  the  woman  in  marriage  for  him  and  got  her  promise 
that  she  would  come  after  nine  nights  and  keep  her  wedding 
with  Frey.  When  Skirnir  had  told  Frey  of  his  journey  Frey 
sang  : 

Long  is  one  night, 

Long  is  another, 

How  can  I  endure  three  ? 

Often  a  month  to  me 
Shorter  seemed 

Than  one  half  of  this  wedding-night.  • 
(Later  Edda,  Gylfaginning,  37.) 

After  the  death  of  Njord,  Frey,  one  of  his  sons,  succeeded 
him  as  high  priest  of  the  sacrifices,  and,  according  to  tradition, 
built  the  great  temple  at  Upsala,  which  became  of  great  repute 
as  a  most  holy  place  among  the  people  of  the  North,  who  came 

1  A  high  seat  from  which  Odin  could        Skiruismal  or  Skirnisfb'r,  on  the  stor\  «\' 
bee  over  all  worlds.    (Gylfaginning,  17  )       Njord  falling  iu  love  with  Gerd. 
In  the  older  Edda  there  is  a  long  poem, 


from  all  parts  of  the  country  to  assist  at  the  sacrifices.  The 
Sagas  say  that  great  Things  were  held  there,  all  important 
quarrels  settled,  friendship  sealed,  and  peace  concluded  between 
chieftains  and  countries. 

"  Frey  took  the  realm  after  Njord  ;  he  was  called  the  drottin 
of  the  Swedes,  and  took  taxes  of  them.  He  was  as  well  liked  as 
his  father,  and  in  his  clays  also  were  good  seasons.  Frey  raised 
a  large  temple  at  Uppsalir,  and  had  his  head  burgh  (hofud 
stad)  there  ;  all  his  taxes,  lands,  and  loose  property  he  gave 
thereto.  That  was  the  beginning  of  the  Uppsalir  wealth,  which 
has  been  kept  up  ever  since. 

"  In  his  days  the  peace  of  Frodi l  (King  in  Denmark)  began  ; 
then  there  were  good  seasons  in  every  land.  The  Swedes 
attributed  that  to  Frey.  He  was  worshipped  more  than 
other  gods,  because  in  his  days  the  people  of  the  land  became 
wealthier  than  before,  on  account  of  the  peace  and  the  good 
seasons.  His  wife  was  called  Gerd,  daughter  of  Gymir ;  2  their 
son  was  Fiolnir.  Another  name  of  Frey  was  Vnfjvi :  this 

V  •/  ^J 

name  was  long  afterwards  used  among  his  kin  as  a  name  of 
honour,  and  his  kinsmen  were  afterwards  called  Ynglingar. 
Frey  fell  sick ;  when  he  was  near  death  they  took  counsel 
and  allowed  few  men  to  see  him ;  they  made  a  large  mound 
ready  for  him  with  a  door  and  three  holes.  When  Frey  was 
dead  they  carried  him  secretly  into  the  mound  and  told  the 
Swedes  that  he  was  alive,  and  kept  him  there  for  three  winters. 
They  poured  all  the  taxes  into  the  mound,  the  gold  through 
one  hole,  the  silver  through  another,  and  the  brass  pennings 
through  the  third.  Then  peace  and  good  seasons  continued  " 
(Ynglinga,  c.  12). 

"  When  all  the  Sviar  knew  that  Frey  was  dead,  and  peace 
and  good  seasons  continued,  they  believed  it  would  last  while 
Frey  was  in  Svithjod,  and  would  not  burn  him,  and  called  him 
the  god  of  the  world  (veraldar  god),  and  sacrificed  ever  since 
chiefly  to  him  for  good  seasons  and  peace  "  (Ynglinga,  c.  13). 

After  the  death  of  Frey,  Freyja,  the  daughter  of  Njord, 
became  the  priestess,  and  offered  the  sacrifices. 

"  Freyja  upheld  the  sacrifices,  for  she  alone  of  the  godar  was 
then  living,  and  she  became  so  renowned  that  all  high-born 

1  The  peace  of  Frodi,  so  called  from 
the  chief  who  ruled  Denmark  at  the 
time,  and  who  must  have  become  very 


2  Gymir,  a  jotun  of  whom  nothing  is 

FJOLNIR.  <;r> 

women  are  called  fruvor.1  Thus  every  woman  is  the  freyja  of 
her  property,  and  she  who  has  a  household  is  hiis-freyja 2  (house- 
wife)., Freyja  was  rather  many-minded  (fickle) ;  her  husband 
was  (3d  ;  her  daughters  were  Hnoss  (costly  thing)  and  Gersemi 
(precious  thing);  they  were  very  beautiful,  and  the  costliest 
tilings  are  called  by  their  names"  (Ynglmga,  c.  13). 

According  to  the  Ynglinga,  Yngvi  Frey  was  the  son  of 
Njord,  and  Fjolnir  the  son  of  Yrngvi  Frey.  Fjolnir  ruled  over 
the  Swedish  and  Upsala  domain,  and  died  in  Zeeland.  A  strong 
friendship  existed  between  him  and  Frodi  the  grandson  of 
Skjold,  the  son  of  Odin,  and  it  was  the  custom  of  these  two 
chiefs  to  visit  each  other. 

"Fiolnir  the  son  of  Yrngvi  Frey  then  ruled  over  the  Swedes 

«"  */ 

and  the  Upsala-wealth  ;  he  was  a  powerful  king,  and  peaei- 
happy  and  season-happy.  At  that  time  Peace-Frodi  was  at 
Hleidra  (Leire) ;  they  were  friends  and  invited  each  other. 
When  Fioluir  came  to  Frodi  in  Zeeland  there  was  a  great 

«-'  ^j 

feast  prepared  for  him,  and  people  were  invited  to  it  from 
far  and  wide.  Frodi  had  a  large  house  ;  in  it  there  had  been 
a  large  vat,  many  feet  high,  held  together  by  large  limbers;  it 
stood  in  the  lower  story,  and  there  was  a  loft  above  in  which 
there  was  an  opening  through  which  the  drink  could  be  poured 
in ;  the  vat  was  full  of  mixed  mead,3  a  very  strong  drink. 
In.  the  evening  Fjolnir  and  his  men  were  shown  to  their  room 
on  the  next  loft.  In  the  night  he  went  out  on  the  svalir  (a 
kind  of  balcony)  to  look  for  something;  he  was  overcome  with 
sleep  and  dead-drunk.  When  he  returned  to  his  room  he 
walked  along  the  balcony  to  the  door  leading  into  the  next 
room,  and  there  he  missed  his  footing  and  fell  into  the  mead- 
vat  and  perished  "  (Y'nglinga,  c.  1-1). 

Svegdir  succeeded  his  father,  Fjolnir,  and  though  several 
generations  had  passed  away  since  the  death  of  the  last  Odin, 
the  veneration  towards  Asgard,  the  old  home  of  the  earlier 
Odin,  was  strong  in  the  heart  of  the  people. 

"  This  Sweden  they  called  Mannheimar  (the  world  of  men), 
but  the  large  Sweden  they  called  Godheimar   (the  world  of 
gods)  ;  from  Godheimar  many  tidings  and  wonders  were  told  ' 
(Ynglinga,  c.  10). 

"  Svegdir  took   the  realm  after  his  father  ;  he  made  a  vow 

1  A   lady   is   still    called  fru  all  over 

2  In    Ireland ic     Sacra1;    house-wife    is 

re'/ja ;    but     in     modern    Icelandic. 
It  lix-fru. 

?  i.e.,  mixed  with  water. 

VOL.  I.  F 



to  search  for  Goclkeim  and  Odin  the  old.  He  went  with 
twelve  men  far  and  wide  about  the  world ;  he  came  to  Tyrkland 
and  to  Sweden  the  great,  and  met  there  many  of  his  friends 
and  kinsmen,  and  was  five  winters  on  that  journey.1  Then  he 
came  back  to  Sweden,  and  stayed  at  home  for  some  time. 
He  had  married  a  woman  called  Vana  in  Vanaheim ;  their 
son  was  Vanlandi.  Svegdir  went  again  in  search  of  Godheirn. 
In  the  eastern  part  of  Sweden  there  is  a  large  boer  called 
Stein  (stone) ;  there  stands  a  rock  as  large  as  a  big  house.  One 
evening  after  sunset,  when  Svegdir  ceased  drinking  and  went 
to  his  sleeping-house,  he  saw  a  Dverg  sitting  outside  the  rock. 
Svegdir  and  his  men  were  very  drunk,  and  ran  to  the  rock. 
The  Dverg  stood  in  the  door  and  shouted  to  Svegdir  to  come 
in  if  he  wanted  to  meet  Odin.  Svegdir  rushed  into  the  rock, 
which  at  once  closed  upon  him,  and  he  came  not  back " 
(Ynglinga,  c.  15). 

A  description  of  the  leading  events  in  the  life  of  each  of 
the  remaining  mythical  or  semi-mythical  rulers  named  in  the 
genealogies  is  given  in  the  Ynglinga,  but  we  have  only  thought 
it  necessary  to  place  before  the  reader  these  few  typical 
examples,  as  the  scope  of  the  work  will  not  admit  of  a  fuller 
treatment  of  the  subject ;  though  some  extracts  have  been 
incorporated  in  the  Chapter  on  Customs,  &c. 

The  Northern  chiefs  traced  their  ancestry  from  this  Odin  of 
the  North,  whose  influence  had  become  so  great  with  King 
Gylfi  that  two  of  his  sons,  as  we  have  seen,  married  the  latter's 

When  reading  the  Saga  literature  we  are  particularly  struck 
by  the  frequent  references  made  to  pedigrees  in  which  the 
people  of  the  North  took  great  pride.  There  are  three  great 
genealogical  branches  through  which  the  Northern  chiefs 
traced  their  descent  from  Odin. 

"  All  who  are  truly  wise  in  events  know  that  the  Tyrkjar 
and  Asia-men  settled  in  the  northern  lands.  Then  began  the 
tongue  which  has  since  spread  over  all  lands.  The  leader  of 
these  people  was  called  Odin,  and  to  him  men  trace  their 
families"2  (Sturlaug's  Saga  (Fornaldarsogur,  111),  c.  1). 

These  genealogical  branches  are  : — 1.  The  Ynglinga  ;  or  that 
of  Halfdan  the  black,  the  nephew  of  Rognvald  Jarl.  2.  The 

1  This  would  imply  that    Sweden  was 
east  of  Vanaheim. 

2  Cf.   also    Herraud   and   Bosi's    Saga, 
c.  1. 

0 DIXIC  G'ViVY I-'.. \l.<n;l AX 


IL i Jf  i/'/j"  ;  or  that  of  Hakon  Jarl  the  great.  3.  The  Skjoldimga  ; 
or  that  of  HaralJ  Hilditonn  or  the  Danish  branch. 

If  we  could  admit  that  these  genealogies  are  more  or  less 
correct,  and  if  we  struck  an  average  by  generations  (of  thirty 
years)  the  result  would  make  Odin  live  about  the  beginning 
of  the  Christian  era ;  if  a  longer  average  of  life  is  allotted,  he 
would  have  lived  some  centuries  before  that  date.  But  of 
course  the  genealogies  must  be  treated  as  in  the  main  mythical. 

The  Ynglingatal,1  a  genealogical  poem,2  composed  for  Eogn- 
vald  Heidumhceri  (the  uncle  of  Harald  Fairhair),  traces  the 
family  of  Eognvald  through  thirty  generations  up  to  Odin, 
and  being  probably  composed  a  little  after  900,  it  would  make 
Odin  live  alont  100  lefore  Christ. 

Ari  in  ch.  12  of  Islendingabok  traces  his  family  through 
thirty-seven  degrees  up  to  Yngvi  Tyrkja  King. 

These  are  the  names  of  the  forefathers  of  the  Yngliugar  and 
Breidfirdingar  (Men  of  Breidifjord)  :— 

1.  Yngvi  Tyrkjaking.  -3. 

2.  Fjord  Sviaking.  24. 

3.  Frey.  25. 

4.  Fjolnir,  who  died  at  Prid-Frodi's. 

5.  Svegdir.  26. 
<!.  Vaulandi.  27. 

7.  Yisbur.  28. 

8.  Dumaldi.  29. 

9.  Dumar. 

10.  Dyggvi. 

11.  Dag.  30. 

12.  Alrek.  31. 

13.  AgLi.  32. 
1-i.  Yngvi. 

15.  Jorund.  33. 

16.  Aim  the  old.  34. 

17.  Egil  Yeudikraka. 

18.  Ottar. 

19.  Adils  at  Uppsalir.  35. 

20.  EystL'in.  36. 

21.  Yngvar. 

22.  Braut-onund. 

Injgald  the  evil. 

Olaf,  wood-chopper  (tretelgja). 

Halfdao.  Whiteleg  Upplendinga- 

fi odrod. 
Ingjald,  the  son  of  the  daughter 

of  Sigurd,  son  of  Kagnar  Lod- 


Oleif  the  white  (king  in  Dublin). 
Thor stein  the  red. 
Glei   Feilan,    the   first   of   them 

who  settled  in  Iceland. 
Thord  gellir. 
Eyjolf,  who  was  baptized  in  his 

old     age    when    Christianity 

came  to  Iceland. 
Gellir,  the  father  of  Thorkel  and 

Brand    ami     Thorgils,     Ari's 


As  another  example  of  these  genealogies  we  give  that  of 

1  Cf.    also    Ynglinga    Saga,    and    J'ru- 
logue  to  Heimskringla. 

-  The  Tnglmjdtal  is  not   given,  as   it 

is   tedious,  and   would   be   uninterestiug 

tip  tin-  u-eiHTal  reader. 





<  Min  Asa-king. 





Havar  the  Hand-stronsr. 


Verminul  the  Wise. 
(Mat  tlie  Humble. 
Dan  the  Proud. 
Frudi  tlie  Peaceful. 


Frodi  the  Valiant.1 


Hrcerek  Riiigniggard. 



Hrcerek  Ring-thrower. 

Harald  Hilditonn. 


Hrulf  Kraki. 

Valdar  the  mild. 
Hurald  the  old. 
Halfdan  the  Valiant. 
Ivar  Vidt'admi. 

And  the  Deep-minded  =  mnrried,  1 


2.  Raudbard. 


Sigurd  Hriug. 
Ragnar  Ludbrok. 
Sigurd  Snake-eye. 


Sigurd  Hart. 


Harald  Fairhair  (A.D.  872-933). 

The  following  passage  from  the  '  Later  Edda,'  which  refers  to 
this  branch,  may  help  the  curious  to  fix  the  dales  of  these 
chiefs.  According  to  it  Odin  the  hero  lived  some  years  before 
the  beginning  of  the  Christian  era. 

';  Skjold  (Shield)  was  the  son  of  Odin,  from  whom  tlie 
•Skjoldungar  are  descended.  He  dwelt  in  and  ruled  over  the 
lands  now  called  Danmork,  which  were  then  called  Gotland. 
Sk|  old  had  a  son,  Fridleif,  who  ruled  the  lands  after  him. 

Fridleif  s  son  Frodi  got  the  kingship  after  his  father,  about 
the  time  when  the  Emperor  Augustus  made  peace  all  over 
the  world ;  then  Christ  was  born.  As  Frodi  was  the  most 
powerful  of  all  kings  in  the  Northern  lands,  all  who  spoke 
the  Danish  (Danskj  tongue2  attributed  the  peace  to  him, 
and  the  Northmen  called  it  the  Peace  of  Frodi.  No  man  did 
harm  to  another,  even  if  he  met  the  slayer  of  his  father  or  his 
brother  bound  or  loose ;  no  thieves  or  robbers  were  then  found. 
so  that  a  gold  ring  lay  for  a  long  time  in  Jalangr-heath 
(i.e.,  was  not  taken  by  any  one) "  ('  Later  Edda.'  Skald- 
skaparmal,  c.  43). 

1  Frodi  had  two  sons  Ingjald  .'ind  From  the  first  was  descended 
the  great  Hani  Id  Hilditonn.  who  was 
defeated  by  his  kinsman  Sigurd  Hring 
at  the  Bravalla-battle,  see  p.  .  From 
the  second  was  descended  Harald  Fairhair, 
the  ancestor  of  the  Dukes  of  Normandy, 
and  so  indirectly  of  Queen  Victoria. 

3  ']  his  w.-is  written  after  all  the  pettv 
kingdoms  of  Denmark  had  been  consoli- 
dated into  one  ;  the  term  Danish  tonsjue 
at  earlier  periods  did  not  exist,  but 
Norrccna,  or  Northern  tongue,  was  used 



Prehistoric  ages  of  man— Use  of  metal    unknown — First    traces   of  man- 
Weapons  of  Mint,  bone,  &c. — Graves  of  the  Stone  Age— Introduction  of 
domestic  animals — The  cromlech  or  dolmen  always  near  the  sea— Gallery 
iir  passage  graves— The  passage  grave  of  Karleby — Stone  coffin  graves- 
Sepulchral  chambers — Objects  of  the  Ston»  Age. 

WE  have  now  given  accounts  of  the  literature  which  contains 
the  earliest  records  of  the  people  of  the  North.  Let  us  pause 
and  study  for  a  while  its  archaeology,  which  will  throw  con- 
siderable light  also  011  its  inhabitants  and  their  customs. 

It  is  now  generally  recognised  by  archaeologists  that  all 
people  who  have 'advanced  to  a  certain  degree  of  civilisation 
have  passed  through  three  periods  of  development,  which 
according  to  the  material  of  which  their  implements,  weapons, 
and  utensils  were  made,  have  been  named  the  stone,  the  bronze, 
and  the  iron  age.  We  have  very  abundant  evidence  that  tin- 
people  of  the  North  passed  through  these  three  stages,  and 
indeed  had  reached  the  iron  age  before  they  came  within  the 
ken  of  history.  Beginning  with  the  stone  age,  let  us  see  what 
we  can  learn  of  the  civilisation  of  the  North  from  the  various 
articles  which  were  in  use  during  the  three  stages. 

The  finds  in  the  North  have  baen  classified  under  the  name 
-  (-/rave,"  "  bog  "  and  lt earth"  finds ;  that  is,  objects  found  in 
graves,  bogs,  or  in  the  ground.  In  the  latter  case  they  are 
often  hidden  under  stones,  in  obedience  to  the  injunctions  of 
Odin.  Those  of  the  iron  age  are  found  as  far  as  69°  North 

The  custom  of  burying  different  objects  with  the  dead,  and 
also  that  of  throwing  objects  and  weapons  into  springs  or  bogs, 
or  of  hiding  them  in  the  ground,  has  helped  in  a  most  remark- 
able manner  to  give  us  an  idea  of  the  industries  and  daily 
life  of  the  people  there  at  a  remote  period. 



Ill  the  earliest  age  the  use  of  metal  was  unknown,  the 
weapons  were  made  of  stone,  horn,  and  bone,1  and  towards 
the  close  of  this  age  pottery  was  made. 

The  first  traces  of  man  in  some  parts  of  the  present  Scandi- 
navia are  the  Tcjokkenmoddinger  (kitchen  refuse  heaps),  con- 
sisting of  oyster  and  mussel  shells,  bones  of  fish,  birds,  and 
mammals,  such  as  the  deer,  bear,  boar,  beaver,  seal,  ure-ox. 
wolf,  fox,  &c.,  &c.,  with  remains  of  clay  vessels.  Among  and 
near  these  heaps  of  refuse  are  found  a  great  number  of  rude 
implements  and  weapons  made  of  flint,  bone,  horn,  and  broken 
flint  chips,  also  fireplaces  made  of  a  few  stones  roughly  put 
together,  thus  showing  that  the  inhabitants  lived  in  a  very 
primitive  state. 

No  graves  of  the  earliest  period  of  the  stone  age  have  thus 
far  been  found  in  the  North.  Towards  the  latter  part  of  this 
age  we  see  a  great  improvement  in  the  making  of  weapons 
and  tools  ;  the  latter  were  beautifully  polished,  and  graceful 
in  form.  Domestic  animals  had  also  been  introduced,  as  shown 
by  the  bones  of  cattle,  horses,  sheep,  pigs,  and  dogs,  that  have 
been  found  in  the  graves.  Beads  of  amber  and  bone  were  worn 
as  ornaments.  The  graves  of  the  stone  age  discovered  in  the 
present  Scandinavia  and  on  the  islands  and  shores  of  the 
Baltic  maybe  classified  in  four  groups:  the  cromlech  or  (loli'm-u  : 
the  passage  or  gallery  graves;  the  free-standing  stone  coffins; 
and  the  stone  coffins  covered  bij  a  mound.2 

The  cromlechs  consist  of  from  three  to  five  large  stones 
standing  upright,  and  so  placed  as  to  form  a  ring,  with  a 
large  block  or  boulder  on  the  top.  These  were  intended  for  a 
single  body,  buried  in  a  sitting  position,  with  flint  implements 
and  weapons.  The  w7alls  of  the  chamber  were  made  by  large 
stones,  smooth  inside,  and  the  floor  consisted  of  sand  or  gravel. 
Certain  marks  on  the  tops  of  stones  seem  to  indicate  tli.-it 

1  Antiquities  of  the  stone  age  have 
been  found  in  bogs  at  Hcebelstrup  ;  S.tnd- 
bjerg,  near  Horsholm  ;  Lcesten,  near 
Banders  ;  Kjoer,  Ringkjobing  Amt,  Jut- 
land ;  Samso,  &c.  ;  and  in  mounds. 
Among  them  are  numerous  amber  beads  ; 
Hint  tools  from  4|  to  10  ins.  long,  many 
having  teeth  like  a  saw  ;  a.\e-blades, 
chisels,  spear-points,  and  ornaments. 

2  The  following  contents  of  a 
at  Lnthra,  Vestergotland,  are  typical  : — 
5  spear-heads,  1  arrow-head,  19  rough 
flint  axes,  4  bone  pins,  18  bone  beads. 
4  amber  beads,  H  pierced  teeth  of  bears, 
dogs,  and  pigs,  several  bones  of  co\\>. 
and  a  great  number  of  skeletons. 


sacrifices  to  the  dead  were  prevalent ;  holes  about  '1  im-hrs  in 
width  are  found  on  the  roofs  of  some  cromlechs  and  passage 
graves.  These  cromlechs  always  occur  near  the  sea,  seldom 

Fig.  2. — Cromlech  near  Haga,  Bohuslan. 

more  than  seven  miles  from  the  coast.     The  other  graves  of 
the  stone  age  are  often  found  far  inland,  but  thev  are  almost 

o  •/ 

always  near  a  lake  or  river  having  connection  with  the  sea. 

Fig.  3. — Cromlech  (stendb's)  with  concave  recesses  oil  the  roof-stone,  near  Fasmorup, 

in  Skane. 

The  cromlechs  which  appear  to  be  the  latest  graves  of  this 
age  have  a  much  wider  distribution  than  the  other  forms  ; 
they  are  found  in  nearly  all  the  provinces  where  the  older 



forms  of  graves  occur.     Most  of  them  were  in  or  on  the  top  of 
a  mound,  which  almost  always  had  the  roof,  and  in  most  cases 

Pig.  4. — One  of  thr^e  oblong  cromlechs,  distance  between  ench  about  120  feet,  length 
52  feet,  and  width  20  feet,  position  north  :md  south,  Lille  Rorbcek,  Zeeland.  The 
central  one  had  two  stone-built  chambers,  both  with  the  entrance  from  the  east. 
The  southern  burial  chamler  is  now  destroyed,  while  the  northern  is  completely 
preserved.  It  is  5i  feet  long,  and  I)  feet  wide,  and  has  four  walls  of  stone,  three 
of  which  support  a  stone  roof. 

part  of  the  wall,  uncovered.     The  mound,  which  is  generally 
round,  sometimes  oblong,  is  surrounded  at  its  base  by  stones 

Fig.  5. — Sepulchral  chamber  covered  with  a  mound,  Kallundborg,  Zeeland  ;  height 
about  16  feet.  In  levelling  the  mound  the  earth  was  found  to  contain  articles 
which  tend  to  show  the  existence  of  a  " kj6kkenmb'dding." 

often  very  large  ;  when  this  was  oblong,  the  grave  was  nearer 
the  one  end  than  the  other. 

*  rallery   or  passage   graves  consisted  of   a  chamber  and  a 



«*!»£&*'»•;>  '^^m^.AW® 

_'•'',•        . ,_   '. -.-''•r^lt^:'^^:tL'i .-•  ^•^••'::'-^f\-'^ri'^'-^  •'•  '     "~  "•'••'.'•' "-•••'":     ,.  ::  .    ~* 

Fig.  6. — Passage  srave  on  Axvalla  heath,  near  Lake  Venern,  Vestergotland,  Sweden, 
situated  on  a  hill  overlooking  a  flat  country.  Numerous  graves  belonging  to  that 
]ioricil  are  found  in  the  neighbourhood. 

The  walls  are  made  by  large  slabs,  those  in  the  passage  being  lower  than  the  nlahs 
nf  the  quadrangle.  The  roof  is  of  flat  slabs  of  granite,  5  to  (3  tVet  above  the 
floor,  a  similar  one  serving  as  a  door,  closing  the  outer  end  of  the  passage,  which 
is  20  feet  long,  and  2i  to  3  feet  broad,  and  3  feet  high.  The  mortuary  itself 
(the  quadrangle)  is  3'J  feet  long  by  9  feet  broad. 

T/ie  den  I  sit  alomi  the  walk,  young  and  old,  men  and  -.vomeu,  the  chin  resting  in  both 
hands,  with  their  legs  drawn  up.  Thin  slabs  form  the  cells  round  each  skeleton, 
and  are  about  3  feet  high,  consequently  do  not  reach  the  roof.  Arrow  points, 
knives,  etc.,  of  flintstone,  are  found  with  the  men,  pieces  of  amber  with  the  women. 

Numbers  of  similar  graves  are  found  in  Sweden  and  Denmark,  a  tingle  grave  s(  ine- 
times  containing  nearly  one  hundred  bodies. 

.-''..    L.     -- 


Fig.  7. — Plan  of  above  grave. 

7-1  THE  STONE  AGK. 

narrow  gallery  leading  into  it,  the  whole  being  covered  by  a 
mound,  the  base  of  which  was  generally  surrounded  by  a  circle 
of  larger  or  smaller  stones. 

The  chamber  in  a  passage  grave  is  either  oblong,  square, 
oval,  or  nearly  round;  the  walls  are  formed  by  large  upright 
blocks,  not  quite  smooth,  though  even  on  the  inside  ;  the 
interstices  are  generally  carefully  filled  up  with  gravel  or 
fragments  of  stone,  and  birch  bark  is  sometimes  found  between 
the  blocks.  The  roof  was  formed  by  immense  flat  slabs  or 
blocks,  smooth  on  the  under  side,  but  rough  on  the  top,  the 

Fig.  8. — Passage  grave  near  Karleby — front  view ;  length  of  the  main  gallery, 
covered  by  nine  large  stones,  52  feet ;  width,  7  feet ;  length  of  passage,  40  feet ; 
height,  6  feet, 

interstices  being  closed  in  the  same  manner  as  those  in  the 
walls.  The  floor  is  sometimes  covered  with  small  flat  stones, 
but  usually  with  earth.  On  the  long  side  of  the  chamber 
there  is  an  opening,  from  \\hich  a  passage  was  built  in  the 
same  manner  as  the  chamber,  only  longer  and  narrower. 
This  passage,  or  more  precisely  its  inner  part,  was  covered 
with  blocks  resembling  the  roof  blocks  of  the  chamber,  but 
smaller ;  near  the  inner  opening  of  the  passage,  and  the  outer 
end  of  its  covered  part  a  kind  of  door  setting  has  been  often 
found,  consisting  of  a  stone  threshold  and  two  narrow  door- 

PLAXX  OF  /'.I >>'.!',/:  ','/,'.  II 7-X 


Fig.  9. — Side  view  of  passage  grave  near  Karleby. 




•--    •'      '•    «1 

MJ—*^ ^ 




Fig.  10. — Ground-plan  of  passage  grave  near  Karleby. 
The  irregular  lines  show  the  position  of  the  slabs  covering  the  grave. 



The  passage  graves  vary  much  in  size.  The  length  of  the 
chamber  is  generally  from  11^  to  23  feet,  its  width  from  5  to 
10  feet ;  height  from  3i  to  4i  feet.  The  passage  is  often  as 
long  as  the  chamber,  or  even  longer,  and  its  width  is  from 
2  to  4  feet,  and  height  from  3  to  5  feet.  But  some  are  much 
larger,  and  are  called  giants'  graves.  One  of  the  largest  of 
these  graves  is  that  of  Karleby,  near  Falkdping,  Vestergotland, 
in  Sweden,  where  a  great  number  of  the  graves  of  the  stone 
ag-e  have  been  found. 

-  ^£fe 

Fig.  11.— Stone  coffin  (hallkista)  near  Skattened,  in  Sodra  Ryrs  parish,  Vestergotland, 
21J  feet  in  length.  Graves  of  this  type  are  very  numerous  in  Bohuslan  also, 
and  in  Dal  and  south-western  Vermland. 

Tins  grave1  was  found  under  a  larg^  out  not  very  deep 
mound,  and  is  divided  into  a  large  chamber  and  two  smaller 
ones,  separated  by  stone  slabs. 

In  it  were  remains  of  sixty  skeletons,  and  by  their  side  a 
large  number  of  poniards,  spear-points,  arrow-heads,  and  other 
objects  of  flint  and  stone,  showing  that  the  grave  belonged  to 

1  Of  the  140  passage  graves  at  present 
known  in  Sweden,  more  than  110  have 

been  found  in  Skaraborglan,  and  most  of 
these  near  Falkoping. 

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the  period  when  stone  implements  were  still  in  use ;  but 
among  the  skeletons  in  the  lower  part  of  the  grave  a  couple  of 
bronze  beads  and  a  bronze  spear-point  were  found. 

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Tho  isolated  stone  coffins  were  formed  of  flat  upright  stones, 
and  were  four-sided,  though  the  two  longer  sides  were  not 
parallel,  thus  making  the  coffin  narrower  at  one  end  than  at 

INTERMEDIATE  Fotllls  OF  (illAVES.  7!) 

the  other.  Most  of  them  were  probably  covered  with  one  or 
more  stones;  and  although  these  have  in  many  places  long 
ago  been  destroyed  or  removed,  they  are  sometimes  still  found 
in  their  place.  The  direction  of  these  coffins  is  almost  always 


from  north  to  south,  and  they  are  generally  surrounded  by 
a  mound  of  stones  of  more  or  less  stone-mixed  earth.  This 
form  of  grave  was  probably  the  outcome  of  the  omission  of 

Fig.  15. — Interior  of  the  passage  grave  at  Uby.  The  spaces  between  the  large  stones 
filled  with  pebbles.  The  roof  is  formed  by  two  large  stones  which  have  been 
cut  from  a  large  block. 

the  passage.  Several  intermediate  forms  have  been  found, 
showing  how  the  passage  was  gradually  lessened  until  it  can 
only  be  traced  in  the  opening  which  narrows  at  the  south 
end  of  the  coffin. 

The  length  of  the  stone   coffin  wras   generallv  from  8  to 

O  v 

Vt>\  feet,  width  from  3  to  5  feet,  height  from  2^  to  5  feet. 
A  few,  especially  in  Vestergotland,  are  from  19^  to  31  feet  in 
length,  one  of  the  longest  graves  of  this  kind  in  Sweden  being 


on  Stora  Luiulskulla,  in  Vestergotland,  with  a  length  of 
34  feet,  and  width  of  8  feet.     Nearly  all   other  stone  coffins 


found  are,  like    the    gallery   graves,   without  a  stone    at    the 
southern  end.     This  cannot  be  accidental. 

Besides  the  stone  coffin  above  described,  several  have  been 

Fig.  lf>. — Clay  urn — Stone  age — ^  real  size.  In  passage  grave,  Stege,  island  of  Moen. 
Baltic,  found  with  remains  of  some  skeletons.  Two  stone  axes,  a  flint  saw,  2 
::rri)\v-|Kiints,  :'>  spear-heads,  fragments  of  clay  vessels  with  covers,  pieces  of  a 
woden  titl),  •_!  awls  of  bone,  a  chisel  of  bone,  3  flint  wedges,  '2  flat  scrapers  of  flint, 
and  17  amlicr  heals  for  necklace  were  also  found  in  the  grave.  The  same 
mound  was  afterwards  used  for  burials  belonging  to  the  bronze  age,  with 
cinerary  urns  with  burned  bones,  on  the  top  of  which  was  a  double-edged  bronze 
knife,  \:e 

found   covered  with  a  mound.     The  chambers  are  o-enerall\ 

O  •/ 

formed  of  upright  Hat  stones,  and  roofed  also  with  stones. 
They  are  generally  smaller  than  the  stone  coffins,  being  from 
•  '•  to  10  feet  long,  and  closed  on  all  four  sides;  sometimes, 
however,  there  is  found  in  the  southern  end  an  opening  as 
previous]  y  mentioned. 

FOTTKIiY  AM>  oA'.V.I.l//;.V/>  uF  Till:  S/V/.VA'  AGE. 


5      §  g  N    Fig.  18. — Clay  vessel  found  near  Frederioia,  Jutland. 
t2       7  a  3  \  real  size 

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=  _l  _=    Fig.    19. — Clay    urn.    Stone    age    grave,    \vith    flint 
weapons  and  amber-heads.     \  real  size.      Island  <>f 

5  g  =        .Moen 

rr     —      -C 

VOL.  T. 


The  two  axes  in  this  page  are  given  on  account  of  their  peculiar  form,  similar 
ti«  that  of  the  bronze  age.  Many  other  forms  of  weapons  will  be  found 
illustrated  in  'The  Land  of  the  Midnight  Sun.' 



Fig.  23. — Clay  vessel  found  in  a  burial  Fig.  24. — Clay  vessel  found  in  a  lar^  pus- 
chamber    with   flint    implements   and  sage  grave,  with  flint,  and  other  iniple- 
other  objects  near  Anlborg,  Denmark.  ments.  near  Haderslev.   Slesvig. 
\  real  size.  size. 

'.  real 



Abundance  of  gold — Stone  occasionally  used  for  arrow-heads — Pottery— 
<i  raves — Commencement  of  cremation — Objects  of  this  period — Profi- 
ciency in  the  art  of  casting — Weapons — Ornaments  more  varied  than  in 
the  stone  age — The  Kivik  grave — 0;ik  coffins — Clothing  of  the  bronze 
age — Sewing  implements — Burnt  and  unbumt  bodies  sometimes  found 
in  the  same  grave — Gold  vessels  and  ornaments — Bronze  vessels- — Battle- 
horns — Bronze  knives. 

WHILE  the  three  ages  to  SOUK.-  extent  overlap,  while  we  find 
stone  articles  running  into  the  bronze  age,  and  bronze  and 
even  stone  into  the  iron  age,  still  the  distinction  between  the 
three  periods  is  too  clearly  marked  to  be  overlooked.  Thus 
in  the  bronze  age,  characterised  by  the  use  of  that  metal  and 
of  gold,  the  weapons  were  almost  entirely  of  bronze ;  amber 
still  continued  to  be  used  for  ornaments,  and  towards  the  close 
of  this  epoch  glass,  in  the  shape  of  beads,  and  iron  appeared, 
but  silver  seems  to  have  been  unknown.  Sometimes  stone 
continued  to  be  used  for  arrow-heads  and  spear-  points. 

The  pottery  shows  a  distinct  improvement  on  that  of  the 
stone  age. 

The  graves  of  the  bronze  age,  as  in  the  preceding  stone 
age,  are  covered  by  a  mound  of  earth,  or  a  cairn,  and  contain 
several  burial  places.  During  the  latter  part  of  the  bronze 
age  the  custom  of  burning  the  dead  was  introduced,  but 
in  the  earlier  part  the  bodies  were  unburnt.  When  the 
custom  of  cremation  commenced  and  how  long  it  lasted 
it  is  utterly  impossible  to  tell,  but  from  the  numerous  finds 
it  is  evident  that  it  must  have  been  in  use  long  before  iron 
became  known.  The  graves  of  this  period  also  generally 
lie  on  the  top  of  some  high  hill,  or  the  cairns  are  placed 
on  the  summit  of  some  promontory  having  an  unobstructed 
view  of  the  sea  or  some  large  sheet  of  water.  These  graves 



prove  that  the  shores  of  the  Baltic  and  of  the  Cattegut 
were  once  thickly  inhabited  by  a  people  having  the  same 
customs  and  religion  ;  and  from  the  situations  of  the  graves, 
as  well  as  from  the  objects,  etc.,  in  them,  we  learn  that  they 
were  a  seafaring  people.  North  of  the  great  lakes  on  the 
large  Scandinavian  peninsula  these  antiquities  become  more 
rare,  thus  showing  that  country  not  to  have  been  so  thickly 

From    the   finds   of  beautiful    and    often  costly  antiquities 
belonging  to   the   bronze 
aire,1  and  from  their  great 

o     J  o 

numbers,the  fact  is  brought 
vividly  to  our  mind,  that 
even  before  iron  was  dis- 
covered there  existed  in 
those  regions  a  remarkable 

The  people  had  attained 
very  great  proficiency  in 
the  art  of  casting,  most  of 
the  objects  are  cast,  and 
some  of  the  weapons  have 

still  the  mark  of  the  clay 

.on  thpm  •  tliprmrlp]  \vi"<-   Kg- 25.— Cake  of  a  rosin-like  substance  made  of  a 

upon  mem  ,  tne  nioi  -paste  of  birch  bark>  and  containing  fragmell,.s 

sometimes  made  of  wax 
and  clay  put  round  it,  the 
bronze  was  cast  into  the 

mould  thus  made,  and  the  wax  melted  into  the  mould  which 
afterwards  was  broken  in  order  to  take  out  the  sword  or  object 
manufactured.  Some  of  the  small  daggers  especially  are 
marvels  of  casting,  which  could  not  be  surpassed  to-day.  The 
largest  swords  are  cast  in  one  piece.  In  the  collection  at 
Copenhagen  nine  of  these  are  perfect,  the  size  of  the  longest 
being  from  35  to  38  inches.  The  swords,  daggers,  poniards  often 
have  their  hilts  ornamented  or  twisted  with  threads  of  gold. 
The  weapons  of  the  bronze  epoch  are  the  same  as  those  of 

of  amber,  used  as  a  kind  of  putty  to  fill  up  the 
hollows  of  objects  of  bronze,  &c.,  found  in 
bogs  and  urns  belonging  to  the  bronze  age. 

1  Some  of  the  forms  of  these  antiqui- 
ties are  met  with  in  parts  of  Germany, 
Hungary,  England,  and  elsewhere  in 

Europe,  whilst   others,  by  far   the  iiin>t 
numerous,  are  peculiarly  Northern. 


the  stone  age ;  poniards,  axes,  spears,  bows  and  arrows.  The 
sword  and  the  shield  seem  to  have  been  in  common  use ;  one 
of  these  now  in  Copenhagen  was  found  covered  with  thin 

The  simple  ornaments  of  the  stone  age  are  replaced  by 
more  varied  and  beautiful  ones.  Gold  jewels  and  vases  become 
common  and  testify  to  the  wealth  of  the  people.  In  this  age 
as  in  the  preceding  age  of  stone,  the  people  of  the  North 
attained  a  greater  degree  of  proficiency,  and  seem  to  have 
possessed  a  higher  degree  of  civilisation  than  the  people 
of  Central  and  Northern  Europe  belonging  to  the  same 

The  graves  containing  unburnt  bones  which  belong  to  the 
early  period  of  the  bronze  age  are  very  similar  to  those  of  the 
preceding  period  of  the  stone  age,  they  contain  several  skeletons 
then  finally  decrease  in  size  until  they  become  about  7  feet 

•.  *> 

long,  or  just  large  enough  to  contain  one  body. 

The  bodies  were  often  not  buried  in  stone  chambers  but, 
in  coffins  made  of  the  trunks  of  oak  trees.  It  may  be  that 


at  a  later  period  the  customs  of  burning  bodies  and  burying 
bodies  unburnt  co-existed,  as  will  be  seen  in  the  account 
of  the  iron  age.  The  warrior  was  buried  with  his  weapons 
just  as  in  the  stone  age. 

One  of  the  most  interesting  graves  which  I  have  seen,  be- 
longing, probably,  to  the  bronze  age,  is  the  Kivik  cairn 
(see  p.  88),  near  the  sea  on  a  beautiful  bay  near  the  town  of 
Cimbrisham.  This  monument  is  the  only  one  of  its  kind  known 
in  the  North.  It  shows  perfect  resemblance  to  others  of  the 
bronze  age,  and  differs  only  from  the  cairns  found  on  the  hill- 
tops of  Bohuslan  in  its  larger  size.  We  have  looked  with 
great  care  at  the  tracings,  which  are  not  so  deep  as  those  of 
the  rock-tracings  situated  in  the  neighbourhood.  The  signs 
carved  on  the  stones  are  evidently  symbolical,  and  were  so 

mf  •• 

made  as  to  look  upon  the  great  chief  that  had  been  buried 

The  Kivik  grave,  like  many  others  belonging  to  the  bronze 
age  situated  by  the  sea,  is  about  700  feet  in  circumference. 
The  coffin,  of  flat  upright  slabs,  was  discovered  in  1750  ;  its 
length  is  fourteen  feet;  width,  three  feet.  It  is  formed  by 

<,i(AVl-:S  <>F  \\' Mi 


Ji       s  —  "    -  5.c 

^   ^  .£    i  -7    =  " 

S^    J    fll 


1   Iii   one  of  the  slabs  (Fig.  28)  there 
seems  to  be  a  representation  of  a  kind  of 

-Mcrilicing  altar,  with   figures   of  ]nT.sons 

C iii'.:     t. .\\anls     it,    as     if    they    were 

coining  tlii-H'  t'nr  smile  oliji-rt.  There 
MTIII  ti>  be  men  blowing  Imrns.  In  V\<s.  '_".( 
are  a  ship  and  a  large  rime,  on  each  side 
of  \\hirh  arc  an  a\i'  and  another  nliject 

or  sign  the  significance  of  which  is  un- 

Fig.  30  has  only  a  ship. 

Fig.  31  has  four-footed  animals,  the 
lower  ones  coming  in  opposite  directions, 
and  the  others  o-oiug  the  same  way  ;  buf 
the  two  subjects  are  separate  I  by  pecu- 
liar marks. 



o.l  A'   ro/-77.\X 


four  slabs  on  each  side,  and  one  at  the  north  end.  These  were 
nearly  four  feet  high,  three  feet  wide,  and  eight  to  nine  indies 
thick,  and  placed  side  by  side.  The  inner  surfaces  \vere  more 
or  less  smooth,  though  neither  cut  nor  polished,  and  on  these 
were  the  tracings.  Two  of  these  stones  were  lost  about  seventy 

Fig.  36. — Dak  coffin.      Kdiijr.slioi  find  (Jutland). 

years    ago.      The  grave    was    covered    with    three    slabs,    and 
pointed  north  and  south. 

In  a  mound  at  Havdrup  in  Ribe  amt,  Jutland,  there  were 
found  in  18(il  three  well-preserved  oak  coffins.  The  contents 
of  two  had  been  taken  out  before  the  discovery  was  notified 

Fig.  37. — 0;ik  coffin,  with  skeleton  body  covered  with  a  woollen  cloak,  Tivenhoi, 
Jutland  ;  one  half  serving  ns  bed. 

to  the  authorities,  but  the  third  was  found  in  the  state  shown 
in  the  illustration.  Near  this  mound  was  that  of  Kongshdi, 
containing  four  well-preserved  oaken  coffins.  The  content- 
of  these  were  however  not  as  well  preserved  as  those  in  the 
coffins  of  Treenhoi.  At  the  top  of  this  mound  there  were 
discovered  clay  urns  with  burnt  bones. 

!)()  THE  BRONZE  AGE. 

In  some  of  these  oaken  coffins  are  found  wooden  bowls  with 
handles,  and  ornamented  with  inserted  pins  of  tin. 

The  articles  of  dress,  found  in  a  most  extraordinary  state  of 
preservation  in  the  oak  coffin,  kept  from  decay  no  doubt  by 
the  tannin  in  the  oak,  show  how  the  people  of  the  North 
dressed  well  before  iron  had  come  into  use  among  them.  These 
are  the  earliest  perfect  garments  known,  and  even  the  latest 

Fig.  38. — Oak  cotfiu,  Treenhoi,  Jutland  ;  one  half  serving  as  bed. 

period  to  which  they  belong  cannot  be  far  from  three  thousand 
years  ago,  and  they  may  be  of  a  much  earlier  date. 

Among  the  most  interesting  graves  which  have  given 
remarkable  results  in  regard  to  dress  are  the  mounds  of 
Treenhoi  by  Vandrup,  near  Kolding,  in  Jutland. 

In  a  man's  grave  was  a  small  cap  covering  the  head  of  the  body, 
which  was  wrapped  in  a  deer-skin,  composed  of  several  sewn 
pieces  of  woven  material,  and  ornamented  outside  with  woollen 
threads,  which  had  been  inserted,  and  terminating  with  knots. 

WZ.ESX  <>F  MEX. 


On  the  left  side  under  the  cloak  lay  a  bronze  sword  in  a 
wooden  sheath,  of  lath  lined  with   deer-skin,  the  hair  behi"- 


inside.     The  hilt  was  ornamented  by  an  oval  bronze  button  at 

Fie.  40. — Woollen  shawl. 

Fig.  42. — Coarse  woollen  cloak. 

Fig.  43. — Woollen  skirt  held  l>y  a  strip-l 
Articles  of  clothing,  Treenhbi.  Jutland. 

its  top.  There  were  no  traces  of  leggings  or  other  protection 
for  the  legs,  but  the  feet  seem  to  have  been  protected  by 
strips  of  wool,  and  to  have  had  leather  shoes  or  sandals  on. 


The  graves  of  women  contain  daggers,  which  may  possibly 

imply  that  the  women  had 
been  warriors ;  also  large, 
spiral  rings,  various  orna- 
ments, finger-rings,  brace- 
lets, glass  beads,  &c. 

Women's  dress  of  the 
bronze  age  seems  to  have 
consisted  of  the  skirt  and 
bodice  as  at  the  present 
time,  but  the  men's  clothes 
were  quite  different  from 
those  of  the  iron  age  ;  in  the 
earlier  time  trousers  were 
not  worn,  while  we  see  them 
in  use  in  the  latter. 

Many  sewing  implements 
of  bronze  have  been  found 
in  the  graves,  the  needles 
like  those  of  the  stone  age 
are  sometimes  made  of  bone, 
but  many  are  of  bronze ; 
awls  were  used  to  pierce  the 
holes  in  garments  that  were 
made  of  skins,  and  some 
peculiar  shaped  knives  have 
been 'found  which  were  pr<>- 
bablv  used  in  the  makinir 

J  O 

of  skin  clothing,  or  in  cut- 
ting leather. 

In  a  grave-mound  near 
Aarhus,  in  North  Jutland, 
a  coffin  made  of  two  oak 
logs  was  found.  The  bottom 
of  the  coffin  was  covered 
with  an  untanned  ox  or 
deer-hide.  On  this  lav  a 

Kiur.  44. — Woman's  skirt  and  bodice  of  \vuul, 
tumid  with  bronze  ornaments,  and  a  bronze 
(Milliard  with  horn  handle  by  the  side  of 
the  body  which  had  been  wrapped  in  a 
deer-skin. — Aarhus,  North  Jutland. 

large  cloak,  made  of  coarse  wool  and  cattle-hair.     In  the  cloak, 
which  was  partly  destroyed,  was   wrapped  the  skeleton  of  a 



woman  dressed.     The    hair   was    long    and    dark,   and    a    net 
covered  the  head,  tied  under  the  chin. 

Burnt  and  unburnt  bodies  are  sometimes  found  in  tin-  same 

Fig.  45. — Profile  of  mound  of  the  bronze  age,  with  large  coffin  and  unburnt  b.><lv, 
and  stone  cist  with  cinerary  urn  containing  burnt  bones,-  also  three  smaller 
stone  cists  filled  with  burnt  bones.  Db'mmerstorf.  S.  llalland. 


Hg.  4o. — Mound  and  sepulchral  cist.  The  stones  in  this  grave  were  of  size  of  the 
fist,  and  formed  a  pavement  of  a  diameter  of  about  a  yard.  The  urn  contained 
burnt  bones,  among  which  were  found  a  bronze  awl.  and  fragments  of  a  bronze 

mound  ;   the  latter  generally  at  the  bottom  of  the  graves,  the 
former  at  the  top,  this   shows  that  the  graves  with   unburnt 

Fig.  47 — Mound  at  Elselioved.  Fyen.     At  the  bottom,  in  the 
centre  of  the  mound,  was  found  an  irregular  "ra\v  lilb',1 

O  n 

with  earth,  of  about  4  feet  9  inches  in  length,  1  foot 
9  inches  in  width,  1  foot  10  inches  in  depth  (measured 
inside).  Outsidf,  mi  the  natural  soil,  was  spread  a  b.-.l 
of  earth,  rich  in  charcoal,  which  contained  ivmains  of 
burnt  bones  and  pieces  of  a  clay  urn,  £c. 

bodies  are  considerably  the  older  of  the  two.  A  mound  with 
several  graves  may  possibly  have  been  the  burial  place  of 
one  family.  The  graves  of  the  later  bronze  age  are  more 



numerous  on  the  shores  of  the  Baltic  than  in  other  parts 
of  Kurope.  Sometimes  the  burnt  remains  have  been  found 
\\rapped  in  clothing,  and  placed  in  an  ordinary  sized  coffin, 
Inu  more  generally  these  burnt  bones  are  preserved  in  urns 
of  clay  enclosed  in  a  small  stone  cist. 

Fig.  48. — Cairn  covered  with  earth,  bronze  age,  Kongstrup,  Zealand.    Diameter  nearly 
40  feet;  height,  10  feet;  covered  with  about  3  feet  of  clay,  containing  over  thirty 

urns,  one  of  which  was  fastened  with  a  resin-like  substance  ;  with  burnt   bones 
and  cinders,  protected  by  little  sepulchral  cists  made  of  slabs. 

These  stone  cists  of  about  the  length  of  an  average  man 
arc  interesting  as  indicating  the  transition  to  the  small  ones 
containing  burnt  bones;  some  of  these  of  a  size  large  enough 
lor  an  unburnt  body  have  contained  only  a  small  heap  of 
burnt  bones,  and  evidently  belonged  to  the  period  when  the 
cremation  of  the  dead  began  to  prevail.  Many  of  these  little 

Hg.  4'.i. — Mound  of  the  bronze  age,  covering  a  double  ring  of  stones;  diameter  of 
outside  ring  86  feet;  containing  several  buiial-places,  with  urns  and  burnt 
bones. — Near  Kallundborg,  Zealand. 

cists  are  only  large  enough  to  enclose  a  clay  pot,  in  which  the 
bones  were  collected;  sometimes  no  coffins  were  found,  but 
only  clay  pots  containing  ashes,  a  small  bronze  knife,  a  bit 
of  bronze  saw.  or  something  of  that  kind.  In  some  cases 
the  bones  were  put  simply  into  a  hole  in  the  mound  and 
the  whole  covered  with  a  stone  slab. 

n.- -Clay  vase;  1  real  size.  Found 
in  ^tone  cist  in  the  mound  with  an  urn 
containing  burnt  bones,  among  which 
lay  two  bronze  knives. — Mound  at 
Gjottrup,  near  Logstor,  Denmark 

Hg.  51. — Pot  of  burned  clay;  \  r>-.\\  size. 
Found  in  a  mound  with  urns  and 
bronze  objects. — Vidstrup,  Hjiirrin- 
amt,  Denmark. 

Fig.  52. — Cinerary  urn,  1  real  size. 
Burnt  bones. — Holstein. 

Fig.  53. — Cinerary  urn.  1  real  siz> 
burnt  bones. — Jutland. 


Fig.  54. — Fragment  of  woollen  cloth.  Real  size.  Found  at  the  bottom  of  a  mound 
at  Dommestorp,  in  Halland;  in  a  fold  of  it  lay  a  well-preserved  bronzr  poniard 
with  its  leather  scabbard.  The  shawl  was  5  feet  loner  an(|  20  inches  \vid<-. 

;//-;  BROXZK  AGE. 

i'  vi^ic^  -  - 

Kig.  55. — Maglehoj  mound;  height  about  14  feet,  diameter  40  to  50  feet;  with 
sepulchral  chamber,  height,  5  feet ;  width,  5^  feet ;  length,  7  feet.  Inside  the 
rliainber  the  ground  was  laid  with  cobble-stones  ;  on  top  of  these  flint-stones.  2  to 
3  inches  in  thickness ;  and  then  again  a  layer  of  cobble-stones,  and  among  these 
were  found :  a  diadem  of  bronze,  two  pieces  of  shields  or  breast-armour,  the 
blade  of  a  dagger,  &c.,  &c. — Zeeland. 

Fig.  56. — Floor  of  chamber. — Maglehoj. 

Fig.  57. — Interior  uf  chamber  with  cinerary  urn. — Maglehoj. 

OJJJAV.-y.s-  OF 


Fig.  58. — Gold  vessel,  |  real  size,  found  with  ton 
other  similar  ones.  All  of  20-carat  gold.  Placed 
with  the  handles  downward  in  the  bronze  urn, 
Fyen  (see  p.  101). 

Fig.  60. — Bottom  of 
the  vase. 

Fig.  59. — Gold  vessel,  \  real  size,  handle  surrounded  with  gold  threads, 
with  a  gold  vessel  in  a  mound,  Zeeland. 

VOL.  I.  H 




Fig.  62. — Design  forming  the 

jpicr-  gi. Gold  vessel,  about  \  real  size,  found  under  a  slab,  bottom  part   of  the  vase. 

Halland.     Weight,  2  oz.  5  dr.  \  real  size. 

Fig.  63. — Bracelet  of  solid  gold,  f  real  size ;  weight,  6  oz. — Scania. 

Fig.  64, —Diadem  of  gold,  §  real  size,  Balsby,  Scania^.-deposited,-  together;  with  four 
massivo  bronze  axes,  upon  a  slab  below  the  surface  of  the  ground. 

BRACELETS,  BlXttti,  ETC.,  »i'  <;<)LD. 


Fig.  65. — Hollow  bracelet  of  gold,  real  size,  found  with  four  spiral  gold  bracelets 
near  a  large  stone. — Ska'rje,  Bohuslan. 

Fig.  G6. — Spiral  ring  of  double  thread  of  gold. — Scauia. 

Fig.  67. — Pincers  of  gold.        Fig.  68. — Bronze  pincers. 
Real  size.  — Hallaud.  f  real  size. — Fyen. 

Fig.  69. — Bronze  pincers. 
Real  size. —  Scauia. 

H    2 



ls  of  bronze  are  uncommon  in  the  graves;  some  by 
their  form  seem  to  be  of  Greek  origin,  while  others  appear  to 
be  of  Northern  make,  ftome  beautifully  cast,  and  of  peculiar 
shape,  seem  to  have  been  made  to  be  suspended.  Some  are 

Fig.  70. — Bronze  vessel,  with  representation  of  sun  ship,  with  prow  and  stern  alike, 
as  in  northern  ships.    ^  real  size. — Bog  near  Aaborg,  Denmark. 

ornamented  with  the  svastica  l  and  other  symbolic  signs,  and 
may  have  been  used  to  carry  offerings  to  the  gods. 

1  The  Svnstika,  or  Suvastika.  is  in  its       rities  are  disagreed  as  to  its  symbolical 
essential    form   a  cross    with   bent  arms        significance.    Other  symbols  equally  diffi- 

M~l   r~H,  l>ut  with  nianv  modifications        cult  to  interpret,  found  in  Norse  remains, 
~   '  are  the  three  dots,  circle  of  dots,  triangles, 

As  a  symbol,  it  is  found  widespread  over 
a  large  part  of  the  Old  World.  It  is 
certainly  of  ancient  origin,  but  autho- 

the  triskele 




Fig.  71. — Bronze   vase,  in  which  were  found  eleven  gold  vessels  with  handles  like  illu>- 
tration.     Representation  of  sun  ship,    g  real  size. — Bog  find,  Ronninge,  Fyen,  Denmark. 

Fig.  73. — Bronze  vase,  with  burnt 

Fig.  72. — A  vase  of  bronze  found  in  a  grave-cist  in  a  a  gold  arm-rincr,  four  double  buttons 
mound,  Fyeu.  The  cist  was  three  feet  wide,  built  (two  of  geld  and  two  of  bronze),  two 
of  stone  slabs,  with  one  on  the  top.  i  real  size.  bronze  knives,  ^i-..  Denmark 



The  bogs  x  of  Denmark  contain  large  horns   or   trumpets, 
made  entirely  of   bronze,  with    pendant  chains  (see  p.   104). 

Fig   74. — Bronze  vase.     £  real  size. — Brobv,  Denmark. 

Fig.  75. — Bronze  pail.     J  real  size. — Ogemose,  Denmark. 

1  In   n  bog  hv  Taarup  several   pieces 
of   lironze,    such    as    arm    rings,    spear- 
points,  chisels,  &c.,  were  found. 
_  Near  Aarup,  Jutland,  two  bronze  ear- 
rings of  a  similar  pattern,  two. 'bracelets 
made  of  convex    bronz^   bauds' with   en 
graved  omani-m-,  a    -ojj,|   .r,,],|   rjnv  for 

tlie  hair,  three  spiral-shaped  loops  of 
gold  with  bowl-shaped  buttons  at  the 
ends.  The  engraved,  ornaments  seem  to 
point  to  the  fact  that  the  engraving 
needle  was  known  in  the  bronze  age. 

Somewhat    similar  objects  have  been 
found  in  other  bogs. 

HANGING  TV-.Xs/;/,  <>F  BRONZE. 


Nothing  exactly  corresponding  to  them  has  yet  been  discovered 
in  other  countries.  They  have  been  cast  in  several  pieces, 
and  with  surprising  skill,  and  are  carefully  fastened  together 

Fig.  76. — Hanging  vase  of  bronze.     J  real  size.— Bog,  Senate,  Vestergotland. 

Fig.  77. — }  real  size.  Fig.  78. — \  real  size. 

Svastica.  Scania. 

Patterns  of  the  Imttom  of  different  vases. 

Fig.  79. — \  real  size. 

by  rivets  which  interlace  each  other.  Sometimes  they  have 
been  buried  in  the  bogs  in  a  broken  state,  but  generally  have 
been  so  well  preserved  that  they  can  still  be  blown.  They 
produce  a  dull  and  not  very  loud  sound.  On  one  occasion 



Fig.  82.— Horn  of  bronze,  1  real  size. — Bog,  Scania, 
at  a  depth  of  over  6  feet. 

Fig.  83. — Battle  horn  of  bronze,  with  chain  ornamented  with  birds;  1  real  size,  or  30  inches  long. 

— Bog,  Ribe  Amt,  Denmark 



they  have  been  found  with  a  shield  of  bronze  and  a  le\\ 
swords,  hence  their  use  in  battle  may  be  inferred.  \\\\\ 
generally  several  of  them  are  found  together,  rarely  less  than 
two,  and  sometimes  as  many  as  six  on  the  same  spot. 

A  perfectly  unique  find  belonging  to  the  bronze  age  is  that 

Fig.  84-. — Bronze  boats  covered  with  gold. — Nors  parish.  North  Jutland. 

discovered  at  Nors  parish,  Northern  Jutland,  in  1885.  In  an 
urn,  greatly  damaged,  were  about  100  small  boats  of  bron/r 
canoe-shaped,  about  four  to  five  inches  in  length,  placed  one 
into  another,  all  covered  inside  and  outside  with  a  thin  sheet 
of  gold;  some  have  been  found  to  be  ornamented  with  con- 



centric  rings  on    the   side.      What  was  the   meaning  of  the 
offering  or  find  will  always  remain  a  mystery. 

The  curiously-shaped  knives,  which  are  found  in  very  great 
numbers,  seem  to  be  peculiar  to  the  North,  and  the  North  of 
Germany.  What  they  were  used  for  is  hard  to  tell,  possibly 
as  sacrificial  knives.  It  can  hardly  be  doubted  that  the  signs 
upon  them  are  symbolical ;  some  may  be  representations  of  the 
sun-ship,  others  are  somewhat  like  minute  representations  of  the 
rock-tracings,  or  designs  upon  Greek  coins,  while  the  heads  of 
horses  remind  us  of  the  gold  vases  represented  in  this  chapter. 

Fig.  85.— Bronze  knife,  with  sun  ship  and  fish.     Real  size.     In  a 
mound  at  Skjellerup,  near  Aarhus,  North  Jutland. 

Fig.  86. — Bronze  knife,  without  handle,  with  a  serpent.     Real  size 
In  a  mound,  Jutland,  with  three  stone  cotfins. 

Fig.  87.— Bronze  knife.     Real  size.     Found  in  mound 
in  Jutland. 

Fig.  88.— Bronze  knife  in  clay  urn,  with  burnt  bones,  two  other  knives. 

§  real  size. — Denmark. 

\'i:S  OF  BRO.\/.i:. 


Fig.  89. — Bronze  knife,  with  a  vessel.     §  real  size.     In  a  mound. — Fyen. 

Fig.  90. — Bronze  knife. — Jutland. 

Fig.  91. — Bronze  knife;  ship,  with  two  suns  and  S. 
Skanderborg  Amt,  Denmark.     §  real  size. — Jutland. 

Fig.  92. — Bronze  knife,  with  ship,  sun,  and  triskele.     §  real  size. 
— In  an  urn  in  Holstein. 

Fig.  93. — Bronze  knife,  mound  at  iKimnv'storp,  Halland,. in  a  ruined  stone  cist.  Rea.  size. 



Fig.  94. — Bronze  knife,  with  two  ships  very  like  those 
on  rock-tracings.     lieal  size. — In  a  mound  near  Vimose  on  Fyen. 



Trt'liffUu™  ''  "      ••  .  "       ;w,.f  .      JtlB,    '         '.;,.•"--.-  -         rt^\ 

Fig.  95. — Bronze  knife,  Scania.     Real  size. — Scania. 

Fig.  96. — In  a      Fig.  97. — Found  in  a  field           Fig.  98.  Fig.  99. — Found  with 

mound. — Zeeland.     inFyen,  nearSvecdborg,  bones  and  charcoal  in 

with  two  other  swords.  a  mound. — Fyen. 

Handles  of  bronze  swords,     i  real  size. 



Varying  in  size  from  3  inches  to  6|  inches. 









Fi.  105. — real  size. 


Fig.  106.— i  real 

Fig."  107. 
real  size. 

Fig.  108.  — J  real  size. 

Fig.  112. — Upper  part  of 
bronze  sword.    £   real 

size. —  Scania. 

Fig.  109.— In  a  bog,      Fig.  110.— In  a  bog,  Jut-        Fig.  111.— In 
Falster.     \  real  size.  land.     \  real  size,    mound,  Jutland.  |  real  size. 

rds. — These  peculiar  bronze  swords  are  found  in  various  towns  in  England  and 











Fig.     115.— Knife 


of     bronze, 
stone  coffin 

1  real  size, 
in  a  mound,  Island  of  Mb'en, 
in  the  Baltic,  with  a  sword 
and  a  knife. 

Fig.  114. — Spear-head  of 
bronze.  ^  real  size. — Fiil- 
koping,  Vestergotland. 

Fig.  116. — Knife  of 

Jreal  size. 


Fig.  117.— Knife  of 
bronze.  \  real  size. 
In  mound,  Zeeland. 

Fig.  118.— Knife  of 
bronze.  |  real 
size.  •  Hal  land, 

Fig.  120. 
real  size. 
In  urn,  Fyen 

Fig.  119. 
J  real  size. 
In  urn,  Hoi- 

Knives  of  bronze. 




P---I- • '';",r^ 

Fig.  124.  --  leather 
shealh  f«r  lirouze 
il.-iir^cy,  hiindle  of 
Imrn  ;  in  tumulus  at 
I  >iimnit'>ti>r|i,  Ilal- 

Fig.  125.  —  One-dl-r  I 
bronze  swonl,  found 
in  a  bog,  O-stergSt- 
laud, Sweden.  Length, 
alunit  L'O  inclii's.  The 
onlv  (iiio  of  this  ty|»' 
ftiiinil  in  the  Nortli. 
I'nif.  Stepliens  in  hi> 
'  Hume  Monuments ' 
shows  that  the  type  is 
Assyrian,  and  that  it 
lia>  come  l>y  the  trade 
mritps  through  Russia 
intoSweden  from  Asi:i. 

VOL.  I. 


T//A;  ni;o.\/j-;  AGE. 

Fig.  26. — Bronze  shield  with  handle,     i  real  size. Denmark. 



Fig.  127. — Thin  shield  of  bronze,  |  real  size,  found  in  a  bog  at  a  depth  of  a  little 
more  than  3  feet  •  66  inches  full  size  diameter;  bird-like  figures  round  centre. — 

Fig.  128.  —  One-eighth  part,  of  a  small  bronze  shield,  mensurinc;  only  27  inche? 
in  dinmeter.  containing  eight  triangles;   4,  size.      In  a  hog,  Falster. 



Fig.  130.— £  real  size. 

Fig.  129. — \  real  size. — Flensborg  unit.  Denmark. 

Fig.  131. — Massive  bronze  axe.  \  real  size,  ornamented 
on  three  sides. — Veilc  amt,  l>enmavk 

liroiize  axes. 

Fig.  132. — Tn  Randersfjord, 
.hitlaiid.  A  real  size. 

isifi>.\/i-:  AXES. 


Kiff.  134. — Bronze  axe 
size. — Bohuslan 

,  Sweden. 

Fig.  135. — J  real  size. 
Ploughed  up  in  a  field, 

Fig.  136. — Fragment  of  bronz 

^real  size,  with  hanc 
of   oak. —  Noar    Kskilstuna, 

Fig.  137. — Axe  of  thin  layer  of  bronze,  J  real  size, 
cast  upon  n  mould  of  clay,  ornamented  with  some 
round  plaques  of  gold,  in  the  midst  of  which  arc 
of  anilicr. — Sodermanland,  Sweden, 



Fi<r    138. — Two  forms  of  stone  for  casting;  one  for  four- saws,  the  other  for  two 

knives.     3,  real  size. — Scania. 

Fig.  130. — Necklace  of  bronze.     \  real  size. — BOEJ,  V.-GStland. 



it;.  Ho. — Saw  of  bronze,      i  real  size. — Denmark 

Fig.  141. — Bronze    ring.     Real       Fig.    l-t'2. — One   of  two    bronze    bracelets    round 
size. — Denmark.  wrist    of   skeleton    in    tumulus,    Dommestorp, 

Hallaml.     jj  real  size. 

Fii;.  14.'1. — ttronze 
Real  sizi\  —  r 

r"j,_,-.  144.  —  Bronze  bracelet. 
—  Denmark. 

A  n-al  si/i-. 


Fig.  145.— Fibula  of  bronze.     |  real  size.     Found  with  a  bronze  ring  in  bog, 


Fig.  146. — Head  ornament  or  hair-ring.     Little  less  than  J  size. 

iir.  147. — Loner  spiral  bracelet,  found  near  a  big  stmie,  Scania. 

.\.iMi-:\"i'*  OF 


Fig.  148.— Tut tilus  of  bronze,  with  many  other  objects,  in  a  large  mound  at 
Boscr&rden,  near  Lund.  Sweden. 

r.  149. — Bracelet,     i  real  size. — Denmark. 

j,_r.  150. — Bracelet  ol'hronze.     5  real  size. — Scania. 



zE  AGE. 

Fig.  151. — Diadem  of  bronze.    |  real  size. — l)eiimark. 

Fig.  152. — Button  of  bronze. 
Real  size. — Scania. 

Fig.  153. —Button  found  with 
other  object* in  a  small  clay 
urn,  witli  burnt  bones,  sur- 
rounded by  little  slabs  ;  real 
size. — Dommestorp,  Halland. 






Fig.  154. — Fibula  of  bronze.     J  real  size.— Scania.1 

1  Sen  'Land  of  the  Midnight  Sim'  for  other  ornaments  of  bronze. 



Fig.  157. — Found  in  a  bog 
among  the  contents  of  a 
bronze  vessel  —  1'ings, 
)>ins,  knives,  etc.  4  real 
size. — Fyeii. 




Bronze  pins. 



Fig.  160.— Bracelet  of  gold 
real  size. 

Fig.  101 — Twisted  necklace  of  bronze,  J  real  size,  found  in  a  bog  at  a  depth 
of  1m.  5c.  at  Lan^ho,  Sodermanland. 

Fig.  1i>'2. — Ornament  of  bronze,  \  real  size,  lor  wooden  pail.—  Bog  of  Balkukrn, 

near  Vstad,  Scania. 



THE    IRON    AGE. 

The  ihrec  historic  asies  overlap  each  other — Division  of  the  iron  a<je  by 
archaeologists — Gradual  development  in  the  mode  of  burial  during  this 
three  ages — Appearance  of  silver,  lead,  and  glass — Greek  and  1  toman 
objects — Cinerary  deposits — Cremation — The  Kannikegaard  cemetery- 
1'rimitive  kettle-shaped  graves — Intentional  destruction  of  weapons  and 
armour  in  graves — Cinerary  urns — Symbolic  signs — Ornaments  of  the 
iron  age. 

IN  the  iron  age,  when  the  knowledge  of  all  the  metals  was 
known,  and  weapons  were  made  of  iron,  bones  were  still  sonic- 
times  used  for  arrow-heads  ;  this  age  gradually  merges  into 
the  historic  period.  It  is  impossible  to  assign  definite  limits 
of  time  to  the  three  prehistoric  ages  ;  they  run  by  degrees 
into  each  other  ;  the  classification  specifies  no  division  of  time, 
but  marks  degrees  of  development  in  man. 

Northern  archaeologists  divide  the  iron  age  in  the  North 
into  the  earlier,  middle,  and  later  iron  age,  in  the  same 
manner  as  they  have  divided  the  preceding  stone  and  bronze 
ages ;  and  it  may  safely  be  said  that  in  all  these  ages  the. 
North  surpasses  other  countries  in  the  beauty  and  number 
of  its  objects.  All  the  antiquities,  as  well  as  the  Eddas  and 
Sagas,  plainly  show  that  the  people  who  inhabited  the  eastern 
and  southern  shores  of  the  present  Scandinavia1,  the  islands 
of  the  I'altic,  and  the  southern  shores  of  that  sea,  to  a  certain 
distance  inland,  which  now  comprise  Northern  Germany,  were 
of  the  same  origin  and  belonged  to  the  same  race;  and  the 

1    During    the    stone    and    bronze  ages        becomes    more   thickly   settled,    and   •;ip- 

the    population   of   Norway  was    not  as 
sjreat   as  that    of  Sweden,  Denmark,  and 

proximates  somewhat  in  its  population 

to    the  neighbouring    countries:   bron/< 

the   islands   of   tin1    Baltic.      It    is    only        finds    have    occurred    in   Norway   ns  far 
the    iron    a<_M>    that    that  country        north    as  66°  10' N.  latitude. 

TIII-:  JIH>\  A<;i: 

vast  number  of  \vea,pons  of  various  kinds  testify  equally  with 
the  records  to  the  warlike  character  of  the  people.  The  finish 
of  the  weapons  of  the  later  stone  age  is  something  wondertuJ, 
many  of  them  are  as  polished  as  glass  ;  the  weapons  of  bronze 
are  equally  remarkable. 

In  the  beginning  of  the  iron  age  appear  the  shears,  which  are 
verv  similar  to  those  now  in  use.  Clothes  during  this  period 
were  generally  kept  together  by  pins  and  buckles,  which  have 
been  found  in  great  numbers ;  horns  were  used  as  drinking 
cups,  and  domestic  vessels  of  glass,  bronze,  silver,  gold,  wood, 
or  burnt  clay,  and  objects  of  Roman  manufacture,  dice,  checkers 
or  draughtsmen,  and  chessmen,  have  also  been  unearthed. 

At  a  very  early  period  of  this  age  remains  of  brynjas,  or 
coats  of  ring  armour,  have  been  found  in  graves  where  burning 
of  the  dead  has  taken  place  ;  this  shows  that  they  were  known 
in  the  North  even  in  the  beginning  of  the  Christian  era,  if 
not  before  ;  they  are  also  met  with  in  graves  of  a  later  period 
and  in  the  bog  finds  of  the  third  and  fourth  century. 

Alono-  ^ith  iron  the  people  became  also  acquainted  with 
silver,  lead,  glass,  &e.,  and  knew  the  art  of  soldering  and 
o-ilding  metals.  The  jewels  and  ornaments  in  their  design 
and  workmanship  show  a  considerable  advance  in  taste. 

At  what  time  the  use  of  iron  began  to  be  known  among 
the  people  and  when  it  superseded  bronze  is  impossible  to 
tell :  the  change  must  have  taken  place  a  long  time  before 
the  ships  of  the  Suiones  were  described  by  Tacitus,  a  won- 
derful example  of  the  accuracy  of  whose  description  is  found 
in  the  Nydam  boat  of  which  I  will  speak  hereafter.  Iron  is 
very  abundant  in  Sweden  and  Norway,  and  bog  iron  was  no 
doubt  plentiful  in  the  islands  of  the  Baltic  ;  the  use  of  the 
latter  is  proved  by  masses  of  slag,  weapons,  &c.  found  in  the 
earliest  graves  of  the  iron  age.  The  use  of  the  bronze  of 
the  preceding  period  continued,  and  many  objects  of  bronze 
are  evidently  of  home  manufacture. 

The  earliest  graves1  belonging  to  this  iron  age  in  the  North 

1  Mixed    finds    precede   the   advent  of  I    age,     are     found     with     those    of    iron, 

each  age.     Stone  implements  or  weapons  i    Examples  of  such   arc — a  grave  at  Ston- 

are  found  together  with  those  of  bronze,  holt,  Viborg  Amt,    containing    pearl    of 

and  later  bronze  implements,  which  are  glass  mosaic,  with  bronze  poniard ;  grave 

the  i\uvrimners  of  the  approaching  iron  at  Alstrup,  Aalborg  Amt,  containing  iron 

<  / //.  1 1 7i'x  OF  TII /•;  /•;.  i  ;,- /,  / /•;/;  IKU.\  .  \< ;  /•;.  i  -j 7 

are  called  by  Northern  archaeologists  depots cineraires  (cinerary 
deposits).  These  graves  are  round  bowl-shaped  holes,  the 
excavations  being  from  about  two  to  four  feet  in  diameter, 
and  three  to  four  feet  deep:  into  these  the  remains  of  the 
funeral  pyre,  such  as  burnt  bones  of  the  corpse,  ashes,  char- 
coal, fragments  of  clay,  urns,  ornaments,  jewels,  other  objects 

Fig.   163. — Cinerary  deposit.     Hole,  filled  with  stones,  4J  feet  deep,  .'J  feet  in 

diameter. — Fyen. 

Fig.  164. — Cinerary   deposit.     Grave,  b  fVet   in  diameter.  4  feet   deep,   lined  with 
cobble  stones,  burnt  bones,  and  broken  fragments  of  clay  urns. — Fveu. 

Fig.  165. — Cinerary  deposit.  Grave.  1'i  feet  lung,  <3  fret  wide,  running  from  north- 
west to  south-west,  with  hole  -^  feet  dec]),  containing  burnt  bones  and  fragments 
of  ornamented  clay  urns,  remains  of  a  lar^c  one-edged  knife,  &<•. —  Gronneskev 
field,  Fyen. 

weapons  alongside  an  urn  in  which  were 
a  knife  and  ring  of  bronze;  grave  at 
Asscns  on  Fyen,  containing  early  iron  a^e 
fibula,  with  bronze  knife,  saw, and  needle  : 

at  Helsinge  Zealand,  grave  with  iron 
pin  and  bronze  objects;  at  P>randtbjerir. 
near  Sorb',  Zealand,  fragments  of  iron 
fibula  and  objects  from  bronze  age,  Jte. 

12R  THE  inox  Adi-:. 

.-iinl weapons  are  thro \\  n  in,  without  order  or  method.  The 
burnt  bones  and  the  charcoal  are  scattered  sometimes  over  a  bed 
covering  a  certain  space,  or  sometimes  in  a  heap  together. 

In  other  graves  the  antiquities  are  found  resting  on  the 
black  mould  itself.  What  were  the  causes  which  led  to  the 
temporary  disuse  of  the  mound-burials  we  cannot  tell. 

Then  came  a  period  when  after  the  burning  of  the  corpse 
on  the  pyre  the  pieces  of  the  bones  were  gathered  into  urns  of 
clay,  wooden  buckets  with  metal  mountings,  vessels  of  bronze 
or  glass  bowls  ;  these  latter  being  very  rare.  These  urns,  &c., 
which  are  frequently  found  covered,  for  protection,  by  other 
vessels,  were  placed  in  chambers  of  varying  sizes,  those  of  the 
earliest  graves  being  made  of  slabs,  and  just  large  enough  to 
contain  the  sepulchral  urn. 

It  should  be  mentioned  that  the  development  of  the  form 
of  these  graves  runs  in  an  unbroken  chain,  beginning  with  the 
lar^-e  grave  chamber  of  the  stone  age,  and  culminating  in 
the  insignificant  receptacles  for  preserving  a  mere  handful  01 
burnt  bones. 

These  graves  are  found  sometimes  singly,  and  at  others  in 
many  hundreds,  and  even  thousands,  together. 


The  Kannikegaard  cemetery  on  the  island  of  Bornholm  in 
the  Baltic,  and  that  of  Mollegaard  by  Broholm  on  the  island 
of  Fyen,  are  perhaps  the  two  richest  antiquarian  fields  of  the 
earliest  iron  grave  period.  Kannikegaard  must  have  been  a 
verv  lai'o-e  common  graveyard  ;  it  is  over  1,000  feet  long  and 


over  100  feet  wide,  and  formed,  no  doubt,  part  of  a  more 
extensive  burial  ground,  as  there  are  other  graves  some 
200  feet  further  on.  In  nearly  all  the  graves  scorched  stones 
have  been  found,  often  in  such  quantities  that  they  nearly  fill 
the  grave  ;  a  clay  urn  was  also  often  found  standing  at  the 
bottom  of  the  burnt  spots  or  lying  on  its  side,  sometimes 
with  the  bottom  up  or  in  broken  pieces;  many  graves  contain 
no  antiquities,  and  hold  only  burnt  bones  and  charcoal.1 

1   l.rolinlm,  situated   on   the  S.K.  coa^t  il<>   better  than  use  the  language  of  the 

of  Kyen,   forms    the   centre  of   the  area  late    Hen-    F.   -Sehested,    who    in    three 

of    a     magnificent     archn'olo^ical     Held,  summers    discovered    mme    than    10,()0u 

whii-h  extends  atmiit    four    kilometres  all  ditl'erent    pieces    belonging    ti>   the    three 

around  it.      In  order  to  give  an  adequate  ages  almve  mentioned, 
idea  of  the  richness  of  1  he  place,  1  cannot 

PRACTICE  <>!'  BURNING  THE  I>K.\1).  \'2(.) 

In  no  other  part  of  Kurope  do  \\c  sec  such  a  vast  number  of 
graves  of  this  period,  showing  that  the  North  must  then  have 
been  inhabited  by  a  far  more  dense  population  than  other 
countries;  from  the  number  and  contents  of  these  depots 
cineraires,  we  gather  that  the  population  burned  its  dead  in 
large  burial-gn mnds. 

The  practice  of  burning  the  dead  had  already  become 
common  in  the  latter  part  of  the  bronze  age,  and  prevailed 
most  extensively,  if  not  entirely,  during  the  iron  period 
immediately  following  it. 

,  v    .  fT' 

Connected  with  the  burning  of  the  dead  was  the  intentional 
damage  done  to  objects  which  were  exposed  to  the  heat  of  the 
funeral  pyre.  Special  care  seems  to  have  been  taken  to 
render  swords  and  other  weapons  thoroughly  useless.  Swords 
are  cut  on  the  edges,  bent  and  twisted  ;  shield  bosses  are  dented 
or  flattened  ;  and  jewels  and  other  objects  are  entirely  ruined, 
and  the  illustrations  seen  in  these  volumes  will  show  how 
thorough  the  destruction  was.  Bent  swords  and  shield  bosses, 
&c.,  were  sometimes  placed  over  the  cinerary  urn,  at  other 
times  they  were  put  at  their  side. 

We  find  that  the  same  custom  also  existed  during  the 
cremation  period  of  the  bronze  age,1  many  of  the  swords  of 
that  period  being  broken  in  several  places. 

Among  the  objects  most  commonly  found  are  shears,  iron 
knives,  silver  and  bronze  fibulae,  glass  beads,  melted  or  whole 
in  manv  of  which  the  colours  are  unaltered,  and  as  fresh  as 


if  made  to-day:  iron  and  bone  combs,  tweezers  of  iron,  amber 
beads,  buckles,  dice,  draughtsmen,  fragments  of  trappings  for 
horses  and  waggons,  ornaments  of  gold  and  silver,  fragments 
of  cloth,  weapons,  iron  keys,  fragments  of  bronze  and  iron 
vessels,  iron  clinch  nails,  spurs  of  bronze  and  iron  (showing 
that  horses  were  used  at  a  very  early  period  in  the  North). 
clay  urns,  &c.,  Ac.  A  remarkable  fact  is  that  the  earliest 

1  In  nn  urn  in  a  mound  near  Veilo,  fragments  of  a  bronze  swflrd  with  hollow 
Jutland,  was  found  a  bent  bronze  poniard;  handle  broken  at  the  top  of  the  handle: 
and  iu  another  mound  at  Mors,  Jutland.  (.'})  handle  of  sword  with  fragments  nt' 
an  urn  containing  burnt'bones  and  a  broken  Made.;  (4).  fragments  of  a  spear- 
bent  bronze  poniard,  head  broken  near  its  socket.  These 

Sehested  mentions  ( 1)  a  hrnn/i>  sword  objects  had   been  intentionally  rendered 

broken  in  four  pieces,  total  length  about  useless. 
2  feet  8  inches    with    point    missing:   ( •_'  > 

VOL.  I.  K 

130  '/'///•;  in<)\ 

swords  seem  to  be  chiefly  single-edged,  a  departure  from  the 

Fig.  167. — Shield  boss,  ruined  In- 
cuts, Norway.  Found  with  a 
double-edged  sword,  blade  broken 
in  two  places,  a  bit  for  a  horse, 
&c.  real  size. 

Fig.  166. — Axe,    ruined  by  cuts   on 
its  edge. — Norway. 

Fig.  168.  Fig.  169.  Fig.  170. 

Half-moon  shaped  knives,  sharp  on  the  outside  edge,  with  one 
end  ending  in  a  loop  or  ring,  and  the  bundle  twisted  ; 
found  at  Kannikegaard.  £  real  size 

Fig.  172. — Found  in  cinerary  deposit  at  Kannikegaard,  one 
of  nineteen  nearly  perfect  swords.     |  real  size. 

shape  of  the  bronze  swords :  the  fragments  of  the  shields  are 
of  wood,  with  hoary  iron  bosses  and  handles. 

INTENTIONALLY  /v.l.l/.u, /;//. 


Fig.  173. — Double-edged  sword,  found  over  a  clay  urn  with  burnt  bones. 

|  real  size. — Oland. 

Fig.  174. — Shield  boss.     |  real  size. — Kannikegaard. 

Fig.    175. — Sword    of 

iron,  found  with  un-   Fig.  176. 
burnt    bones,    frag-     Bronze 
nionts    of    a    kuife,     needle. 
;ind     \vnodeii     scab-   Real  size. 
bard.  Kannikegaard.  Kannike- 

real  size. 


i1^.  177. — Two-edged  sword.  Fig.  178. —  Iron 
found  in  cinrrary  deposit  at  knife;  .',  real  si/.e. 

i  real  size. 

K    '2 


A  AGE. 

Fig.  179.— Sword,  Odense  Ami  Fyen.     \  real  size 



Fig.  180. — Bent  sword. 
real  size. — Kannike- 

Fig.  181. — Single -edged 
sword,  found  in  cine- 
rary deposit  Bornholm. 

Fig.  1 82. — Single  -  edged 
sword,  from  cinerary  de- 
posit at  Kannikegaard. 

Fig.  183. — Sword  from  the  grave-place  near  Horsens ; 
found  with  a  bronze  kettle,  containing  burnt  bones, 
a  heavy  finger-ring  of  gold,  a  torn  shield-boss  of 
bronze,  a  shield  handle  of  iron  with  nails  of  bronze, 
:i  spear-head,  two  iron  spurs,  one  pair  of  iron  shears, 
two  knives,  one  inm  buckle,  bronze  mountings  for  a 
drinking  horn,  melted  glass,  fragments  of  a  pan  and 
sieve  of  bronze,  different  mountings  of  silver, 
numbers  of  pieces  of  melted  iron  and  bronze  ;  not 
far  from  the  grave  were  found  more  than  thirty 
urns  containing  burnt  bones,  and  several  skeleton 

Fig.  184. — Neck-ring  of  silver.      3  real  size. 

Fig.       185.  — 

Sword.    1  real 

$ize. — Kanni- 


Fig.  186. — Spear-point, 
found  near  Kannike- 
gaard.  5  real  size. 

Fig.  187. — Bent  sword,     i  real 
size. — Kannikegaard. 

Fig.  1S8. — Iron  comb,  real  size,  found  with  an  urn  containing  burnt  bon<>s  nf  ;i 
child,  &c.,  with  other  objects. 

THE  //,'O.V  AGE 

'     •'•':';r~'V'-:'* •'"••'.';  -'"'.  "  •    l.%    - /-'-^^"'^/'-'^^'^Vv'^"'^'':'.''-'-'1*-'!;. 

189.— Stone  cist  with  three  layers  of  stone  on  the  top,  containing  unburnt  bones. 

— Kannikegaard. 

Fi».  190. — Inside  of  stone  cist.    Length, 
6i  feet;  width,  2  feet  10  inches  ;  height, 

22  inches.  On  left  shoulder  of  skeleton, 

under  the  right  shoulder,  on  the  breast  Fig.  191.— Stone  coffin,  7  J  feetlong,  20  inches 

and  i>y  the  head,  were  silver  fibula. —  wide,  18  inches  high,  showing  how  the 

Kannikegaard.  beads  were  placed. — Kannikegaard. 

Fi<,r.  1 '.r_'. — Fibula  of  bronze,  plated  with  silver,     f  real  size.     Found  in  a  piece  of 
woollen  cloth,  with  numerous  beads,  &c.,  in  a  stone  coiHn. — Kannikegaard. 

'  nil.  /:.!/; /.//:// 


Fig.  19o.  — Bead  of  gold  and  silver  mixed.         Fig.  194. — Mosaic  bead,  of  red  cnlnur 
kml  size. — Kanuikegaard.  Real  size. — Kannikegaard. 

Fig.  195. — Mosaic  bead,  real  size,  fount 
with  a  silver  ring. —  Kannikegaard. 

Fig.  196. — Glass  bead.     Real  size. — 

Fig.  197. — Fibula  of  bronze :  on  its  pin 
was  a  piece  of  linen — found  with  mosaic 
heads  in  a  stone  coth'n.  Real  size. — 

Fig.  198. — Fibula  of  silver,  with  fragments 

of  bone  comb,  long  knife,  with  remains 

of   wooden   scabbard,  &c.      Stone   cofiin 

9  feet  long.     Real  size. — Kannikegaard. 

ig.  199. — Bead  of  gold  and  silver  mixc  1, 
made  of  three  pieces  soldered  together. 
—  Kannikegaard. 

Fig.  200. — Axe  of  iron,  found  together  with  human 
teeth,  hum  cnmh,  &e.     i  real  size. —  Kannikegaard. 


'tin-:  n«i\  M.I:. 

Fig,  201. — Cylin- 
der -  shaped  re- 
ceiver of  bronze 
3  real  size,  with  a 
rover  and  pieces 
of  a  leather  band  ; 
in  it  were  7-8 
pointed  pieces  of  wood,  probably 
toothpicks  or  pins. — Kanuikegaard. 

Fig.  202.  --  Iron 
sword,  slightlv 
more  than  l  real 
size.  —  Kannike- 

Kit,'.     203.— One-eds;ed     sword,    from    a       Fig.    204.— Double-edged  sword,  from  a 
grave-mound,  Norway,     g  real  size.  grave-mound,  Norway,  found  with  other 

dam.-igcd  weapons,  &c.      5  real  size. 


Fig.  205. — Iron  spear-  r'ig.  206. — Spear-point,  from 
point, found  in  clay  a  cairn,  Norway;  found 
urn.  Skovlyst,  Ribe,  with  two  unburnt  bodies, 
Jutland.  ^  seven  bronze  buckles, 

a  bronze  key,  seven 
beads  of  glass  and 
amber,  &c.  |  real  size. 

Fig.  207. — Stirrup,  from  a 
grave  -  mound,  Norway, 
t '< nmd  with  another  simi- 
lar stirrup,  a  double-edged 
sword,  spear-point,  axe 
blade,  &c.,  ;ill  damaged, 
real  size. 

FJO-.  208.— Cinerary  urn  and  bent  sword  with  iron  sheath.— Skovlyst,  Ribi>,  Jutland. 

////:  n:u.\  AGE 

The  cinerary  urns  an-  of  different  sizes  and  shapes,  many  of 
which  arc  not  ungraceful:  the  clay  of  which  they  are  made  is 

Fig.  209. — Black  clay  urn,  with  hollow  spots,  |  real  size,  containing  burnt  bones. 

— Broholm,  Fyen. 

Fig.  210. — Clay  urn  with  svastica,  £  real  size,  top  of  which  was  closed  by  the  bottom 
of  another,  containing  burnt  bones,  a  pointed  iron  knife,  a  needle  of  bronze, 
melted  lumps  of  glass  from  beads  of  different  colours,  £c. — Bornholm. 

of  a  black  or   greyish   colour,  coarse  and    rough,  porous,  and 
often   very  tender;    the  people  even  at  a   later  period  never 

ci\i-:i:.uty  r/.'.YN  or  r/,.i  y. 

seeming  to   have    been   skilled    in    the  potter's   art.     Many  of 
the    designs    upon    them    are   peculiar,   and   were,   no    doubt, 

Fig.  211. — Dark  brown  clay  urn,  \  real  size. — Mollegaard,  Broholm. 

Fig.  212. — Urn  with  fine  vertical  stripes  and  punctuation,  containing  burnt  bones, 
bone  comb  with  bronze  rivets,  ornamented  with  concentric  lines  along  the 
back.  |  real  size. — Mollegaard,  Broholm. 

symbolical.  Among  these  are  circles  with  dots,  triangles, 
the  svastika  and  triad,  &c.,  &c.  Glazed  pottery  was  unknown 
in  the  North. 

1  10 

/'//A'  ll;n\   AGE. 

Fig.  213. — Urn  of  dark  grey  colour,  containing  burnt  bones,  £c. — Mollegaard,  Broholm. 

Fig.  214.  —  Black  urn,  containing  only  burnt  bones. 


real  size.  —  Mollegaard, 

Fig.   215.— Urn  of  reddish   clay,  ^  real       Fig.  216. — Small  urn.  real  size,  contain- 
size,  which    had    another   urn   on   the  ing  nothing  but  earth. — Kannikegaurd. 

top  like  a  cover. — Kannikegaard. 

UKN8  <>F  CLA  Y,  I.K 


Fig.    218. — Clay  urn. — Kan- 
Fig.  217. — Clay  urn,  \  real  size. — Kannikegaard.  nikegaard. 

Fig.  219.—  Small  greyish  clay  urn  found  in  a  burned  spot. 


real  size.—  Mbllegaard, 

Fig.  221. 

Fig.  222. 

is.  223. 

Fig.  224.   . 

Fig.  220. — Urn,  J  real  size,  and  glass  mosaic  heads,  real  size ;  two  of  the  beads  found 
were  blue,  with  bands  of  red,  yellow,  and  red;  two  more  were  blue,  with  ;i 
pattern  repeated  four  times,  containing  black,  yellow,  red.  and  white  grounds: 
one  was  white,  with  a  wheel-like  pattern,  repeated  three  times,  having  a  red 
centre  and  black  spokes — Mollfga.-ird.  Broholm. 


THE  IIt<>\  AGE. 

225.  _  Cl.av  urn  filled  with  burnt  bones,  and  numerous  objects. 

—  Mollegaard. 

real  size 

Fig.  226. — Wooden  bucket  with  bronze  hoops.     £  real  size.     Found  in  large  mound, 
with  burnt  bones,  and  a  piece  of  gold  spiral  ring. — Norway. 

Ki',r.  'I'll. — Wooden  bucket,  with  bronze  fittings.  \  n\il  size.  Found  in  a  large  round 
tumulus  in-idc  .-i  stmii'  sepulchral  chamber,  with  two  pairs  of  iron  scissors,  frag- 
ments nf  two  double-edged  swcu-ds.  fragments  of  several  arrow-heads,  two  shield 
I.CISMJS,  &c.,  &c.  —  Norway. 

U&N8  <>!'  CLAY. 


Fig.  228.  — Clay  urn,  ]3  real  size,  found  in  a  tumulus  with  another  clay  urn. 

Fig.  229. — Clay  urn,  upside  down,  to  cover  a  bronze  basin,  of  Roman  manufacture, 
placed  on  a  slab  filled  with  ashes  and  burnt  bones,  fragments  of  bronze  orna- 
ments and  glass  vessels  which  had  been  exposed  on  the  pyre  ;  ashes  and  bones 
were  scattered  round,  showing  the  burning  to  have  taken  place  on  the  spot 
^  real  size. — Harf  Medelpad,  Norway. 

Fig.  230. — Clay  urn  in  a  stone  cist  containing  the  remains  of  a  skeleton.  &c. 

size. — Sojvide,  Gotland. 


1 II 

•////•:  n;u\ 

In   (Jutland,  the  graves  are  made  of  lime  slabs.     Some  of 
stone  cists  are  not  deep  under  the  ground,  and  without 
apparently  any  mound. 

Fig.  -.'.51. — Clay  urn,  \  real  size,  found  in 
a  round  innund,  inside  a  sepulchral 
chamber  of  the  length  of  6  feet,  width 
'J  feet, height  1  foot  8  inches. — Norway. 

Fig.  232. — Clay  urn,  J  real  size,  found  in 
a  mound  containing  a  large  stone  cist, 
with  fragments  of  iron  objects  and 
another  clay  urn. — Norway. 

Fig.  23:5.— Clay  urn,  in  a  mound. 

Fig.  234. — Clay   urn   in  a     stone  cist.- 

I  /V.VX  <>!''  CLAY. 

Fig.  235. — Clay  urn,  covering  one  filled 
with  burnt  bones.  ^  real  size. — 
Nat'verstad,  Bohuslan. 

Fig.  236. — Clay  urn,  with  three  parti- 
tions (on  the  outside  are  ten  knobs), 
found,  with  fragments  of  a  belt  hook, 
under  a  stone  slab.  |  real  size. — 
Himmelshoi,  Bornholm. 

237. --Clay  urn,  \  real  size,  found  in  a  round  mound,  inside  a  sepulchral 
chamber. —  Stavanger,  Norway. 

Fig.  238. — Clay  urn,  £  real  size,  found  in  a  mound. — Norway. 
VOL.  I.  L 



Fig.  239. — Clay  urn,  \  real  size,  containing  burnt  bones. — Norway.    Earlier  iron  age. 

rig.  ii40. — Clay  urn,  ^  real  size,  found  in  a  mound  placed  over  burnt  bones  con- 
tained in  a  clay  urn. — Norway.     Earlier  iron  age. 

Kit;.  -'41.— Clny  urn.— Norway.     *  real  size.       Skeleton  grave,  found  with  five  other 

clay  urns,  a  silver  fibula,  &e. 



Fig.  242— Clay  urn  filled  with  burnt 
bones  and  covered  with  another  vase. 
\  real  size.  Found  in  a  large  round 
tumulus — Bohuslan. 

Fin.  243. — Clay  urn,  containing  burnt 
bones  and  fragments  of  a  bone  comb, 
glass  beads,  lever  balance  of  spindle, 
&c.,  found,  covered  with  a  slab,  in 
au  oblong  mound.  ^  real  size.  Earlier 
iron  age. 

Fig.  244. — Iron  urn  or  kettle,  10  inches  high,  12|  inches  in  diameter,  and  6  inches  deep. 
— Norway.  Three  otner  kettles  of  same  shape  and  workmanship  have  been 
found  :  one  in  a  grave-mound. 

Fig.  245. — Bronze  cinerary  urn  ;  \  real  size. — Norway. 

L    2 


Fig.  246. — Bronze  kettle,  1  real  size. — Norway.  Found  under  a  slab  in  the  border 
of  a  round  mound.  It  contained  burnt  bones,  among  which  was  a  gold  bracelet, 
and  other  obiects. 

Fig.  248. 
Fig.  247. 

Small  clay  vessels  found  in  an  oblong  mound  at  Greby,  Bohuslan,  found  with  a  clay 
uru  filled  with  burnt  bones,  on  which  were  fragments  of  a  bone  comb,  glass 
beads,  &c.  ^  rea^  s'ze-  Earlier  iron  age. 

Fig.  249.— Round  clay  urn,  founJ  in  a  mmind,  (jreby,  llohusliin,  containing  burnt 
bones  and  two  melted  glass  beads,  &c.      J  real  size.      Earlier  iron  age. 


I  IH 

Fig.  250. — Clay  urn,  \  real  size,  contain 
ing  burnt  bones,  found  inside  a  sepul- 
chral chamber  of   stone,  6   feet  long, 
nearly  4-  feet  wide,  and  3  feet   high, 
in  a  round  tumulus. — Norway 

Fig.  251. — Cinerary  vase  of  clay,  i  real 
size,  found  surrounded  by  burnt  bones 
in  a  mound  at  Bjo'rko.  Later  iron  age. 


Fig.  252. 

Fig.  253. 

Fig.  254.  Fig.  255. 

Four  of  seven  mosaic  glass  beads,  real 
size. —  Broholm  grave. 

Of  variegated  colours,  yellow,  white,  black, 
blue,  and  red,  and  of  different  designs. 
Besides  those  represented  were  26  blue 
glass  beads,  one  of  which  had  red  stripes, 
one  red,  another  lilac  ;  there  were  also 
eight  amber  beads,  different  shapes,  and 
a  fibula  of  bronze,  to  which  was  attached 
a  coarse  woven  cluth,  <&c. 

Fig.  256.  Fig.  257. 

Iron  knives,  J  real  size,  in  an  urn  on 
the  top  of  burnt  bones  without  coal 
and  fishes.  — Mollcjjaard.  Broholm. 



Fig.  258. 

Fig.  250. — Porcelain    beads,  and  beads      Fig.  260. — Curved  iron  knife,  \  real    size, 
of  gold  and  silver  mixed.     Real  size.  and  with  the  remains  of  a  large  urn 

— Bornholm.     Earlier  iron  age. 

containing  burnt  bones. 

Fig.  '2(il.  - -Iron  knife,  \  real  size;  found  in  a  cinerary  urn  containing  burnt  bones, 
two  pairs  of  shears,  a  buckle,  awl,  and  ring,  all  of  iron;  a  bronze  fibula,  &c.  — 
Miillegaard,  llrohohn. 

The  following  objects  in.  one  grave  in  Mollegaard  will  give 
a  thorough  idea  of  the  destruction  wrought  on  the  pyre. 

—Handle  of  iron  for  kettle. — Moll.-gaard. 



Fig.  263. — Remains  of  a  damaged  iron  instrument  and  silver  fibula  rusted  together. 

Real  size. 

Fig.  2G4. — Silver  fibula  and  other  objects  rusted  together.     Real  size. 

Fig.  266. — Blue  and 
light  green. 

Fig.  265. — Iron  comb,  £  real  size. 

Fig.  267.— Dark 
grey,  with 
white  eyes. 

Fig.  268.  —  Red, 
with  red.  black, 
and  yellow  de- 

Melted  glass  mosaic  beads,  real  size. 

'/'///•;  in<>.\  AGE. 

Fig.  269. 

Fig.  270. 

Fig.  271. 

Fig.  272. 

Four  of  eleven  iron  ornaments,  shaped  like  buckets.      Real  size.-  -Mollegaard. 

Fig.  273 — Bronze  vessel,  9  inches  in  diameter,  with   handle   fastened  with  rivets. 
It  contained  numerous  articles  taken  from  the  pyre,  but  rust  had  united  them  all. 

Fig.  274.  Fig.  275. 

Two  iron  spurs  in  burnt  spot.—  Ivannikegaard. 

Fig.  276. — Iron  buckle, 
|  real  size. — Kan- 

V A  It  10  US  FINDS. 


Fig.  277.  Fig.  278. 

Two  prismatic  dice,  real  size,  damaged  by  fire,  the  sides  pointing  towards  each 
other  always  counting  seven  ;  found  in  an  urn  with  burnt  boues,  remains  of  a 
glass  cup.  &c.,  one  foot  under  the  ground. — Kannikegaard. 

Fig.  279.  Fig.  280. 

Fragments  of  bone  comb  and  iron  rivet,  real  size,  found  in  a  cinerary  urn.—  Broliolm. 

Fig.  281. — Spiral  ring  of  massive  gold,  showing  the  two  sides,  found  near  a  large 
bronze  cauldron,  and  fragments  of  the  mountings  of  a  carriage,  several  iron 
swords,  shield  bosses,  &c.  Real  size. — Broholm. 

Fig.  282. — Spiral  gold  ring  much  alloyed  with  silver,  showing  the  t\v 

Real  size. —  livoholm. 



Early  knowledge  of  the  art  of  writing— Knowledge  of  rune  writing  very 
remote — Archaic  Greek  characters — Jewels  with  earlier  runes — Runes 
on  memorial  stones — Runic  alphabets — The  origin  of  runes — Their 
mystical  meaning — Memorial  runic  stones — Runic  staves — The  Runatal 
—Archaic  inscriptions  compared  with  runes. 

As  the  early  form  of  writing  known  as  runes  occurs  so  fre- 
quently in  connection  with  these  Northern  relics,  it  will  be 
well  to  devote  a  chapter  to  the  subject.  The  written  records 
and  finds  in  the  North  give  numerous  examples  showing 
that  at  a  very  early  period  the  tribes  of  the  North  knew 
the  art  of  writing.  The  characters  used  were  called  "  riinir  " 

The  knowledge  of  rune  writing  was  so  remote,  that  it  was 
supposed  by  the  people  to  have  come  with  Odin,  thus  showing 
its  great  antiquity  and  possibility  of  the  theory  that  the 
runes  were  brought  to  the  North  by  the  people  who  had 
migrated  from  the  south-east,  and  who  may  have  obtained 
their  knowledge  from  the  Greek  colonies  situated  on  the 
shores  of  the  Black  Sea  or  Palus  Majotis.  The  numerous 
runic  inscriptions,  showing  in  many  cases  the  archaic  form  of 
these  characters,  bear  witness  to  the  truth  of  the  Northern 
records,  though  it  cannot  be  denied  that  they  often  closely 
resemble  the  Etruscan  letters.  To  corroborate  these  records 
a  considerable  number  of  antiquities,  the  forms  of  which  are 
unknown  in  Italy  and  are  similar  to  those  of  the  North,  have 
been  found  in  Southern  Russia,  and  may  be  seen  in  the 
museums  of  that  country. 

At  what  early  date  the  art  of  writing  runes  became  known 
in  the  North  it  is  impossible  to  toll.  From  the  Roman  coins 



found  in  the  Nydam,  Vimose,  Thorsberg,  &c.  finds  \vc  know 
that  the  people  knew  the  art  at  the  period  to  which  the  coins 
belong,  but  this  is  far  from  proving-  to  us  that  they  had  just 
learned  the  art  of  writing;  people  do  not  learn  how  to  write 
first  on  objects  of  gold  and  silver;  but,  at  any  rate,  we  can  fix 
a  date  as  early  as  the  second  or  third  century  of  the  Christian 
era.  It  must  be  admitted  as  surprising,  if  the  Northern  peoples 
were  so  advanced  as  to  manufacture  the  beautiful  weapons  and 
artistic  articles  found  in  the  graves  and  elsewhere,  they  had 
not  also  instituted  a  coinage  of  their  own. 

That  the  knowledge  of  runes  did  not  come  to  the  North 
before  that  of  working  iron  is  almost  certain,  as  no  runes  have 
been  found  there  on  the  objects  belonging  to  the  bronze  age. 
A  fact  we  must  bear  in  mind  is,  that  in  the  earlier  graves  of 
the  iron  age,  many  of  which  are  of  greater  antiquity  than  the 
bog  finds,1  the  objects  were  so  thoroughly  destroyed  on  the 
pyre,  that  all  traces  of  runic  character  upon  them  would  dis- 

Besides  the  runes  found   inscribed  upon  jewels,  weapons, 

1  J  can  give  an  example  that  has 
lately  come  to  my  knowledge  to  prove 
this  assertion.  Professor  Lorange  found 
runes  on  parts  of  burnt  bones  found 
in  a  grave  which  he  with  Professor 
Stephens  places,  judging  from  the  antiqui- 
ties whicli  belonged  to  it,  as  belonging 
to  the  sixth  century. 


"  In  a  letter  dated  Feb.  27th,  18dG,  I 
received  from  my  friend  the  gifted  Nor- 
wegian old-lorist  A.  Lorauge,  Keeper 
of  the  Bergen  Forn-hall,  a  facsimile 
drawing  of  a  piece  of  burnt  bone, 
shortly  before  found  in  a  grave-urn  from 
the  early  iron  age  at  Jsederen.  After- 
wards he  kindly  sent  the  original  to  the 
Danish  Museum,  that  I  might  give  a 
faultless  engraving.  While  there,  the 
frail  treasure  was  scientifically  treated 
by  Hr.  Steffensen,  the  Conservator,  and  it 
is  now  quite  hard  and  in  excellent  order. 
But  even  when  it  was  taken  from  the 
urn,  the  runes  were  sharp  and  quite 
readable.  These  Old-Northern  letters 
were  elegantly  cut,  most  of  them  in 
decorative  writing,  that  is,  with  two  or 
three  strokes  instead  of  one,  very  much 

in  the  style  of  the  (?  7th  century)  Old- 
Danish  Bone  Amulet  found  at  Lindholm 
in  Scane,  Sweden  ('Old  Northern  Run. 
Mon.,'  vol.  i.,  p.  219;  iii.,  p.  33;  4t.> 
Handbook,  p.  24) ;  and  of  the  ashen 
Lance-shaft  from  the  Danish  Kragehul 
Moss,  not  later  than  the  year  400 
('0.  N.  Run.  Mon.,'  vol.  iii  ,  p.  133;  4to 
Handbook,  p.  90). 

"This  burnt  bone  is  nearly  4  inches 
long ;  average  width,  \  inch.  It  bears 
over  forty  rune-staves,  cut  in  two  lines, 
in  the  Boustrophedon  order. 

"  From  the  rune-types  and  language 
I  judged  this  piece  to  date  from  the 
6th  century.  But  as  Hr.  Lorauge  was 
familiar  with  the  build  and  grave-gear 
of  the  tumuli  of  a  similar  class,  I  begged 
him  to  say  whether — exclusively  from 
his  standpoint  as  archaeologist — he  agreed 
with  me.  He  replied,  that  he  cliil. 

"  If  1  have  read  the  runes  aright,  this 
object  also  has  been  a  heathen  amulet. 
It  is  the  first  burnt  bone  yet  loun.l 
risti'd  ii-itli  runes.  Other  such  we  may 
have  lost,  for  want  of  lynx-eyed  examina- 

"  Cheapinghaveu,  Denmark. 
r>,  1886." 


Kit?.  '283. — Diadem  of  gold,  with  earlier  runes  inside;  found  in  oblong  mound  ot 
sandv  Humid  with  remains  of  a  stone  collin. — Jutland. 

Fig.  284. —  Silver  fibula,  with   earlier  runes,1  richly  gilt,  the  zigzag  and  runes  filled 
with  liltie  niello;  5  real  size;  earlier  iron  age. — Etelhem,  Gotland. 

1   Similar  nines  a'su  occurred  mi  a  scabbard  found  at  Varpelev,  and  on  a  gold  horn. 

RUNIC  .\  i. 1'H. i  /;/•;•/>'. 


coins,1  Arc.,  there  arc  others  engraved  on  rocks  aii«l  memorial 
stones,  which  are  of  very  greai  antiquity,  some  of  which  seem 
to  be  earlier  than  the  runes  of  the  bo-/  tinds. 


There  are  two  alphabets  ;  the  earlier  one  numbered  twenty- 
four,  the  later  sixteen  letters. 

f     u    th   o      r      c      g     v  h      n     i    y      vo     p      a      s  t     b 

Karlii-r  Rimes  from  the  Ya  Uteiia  bracteate. 

in     1     n 

v   r\  r> 

f    n  th 


r         k         h        n       i       a        s  t        b        1         m        iu 

Later  l{uiif>. 

The  Vadstena  alphabet  is  divided  into  three  sections,  each 
containing  eight  letters  or  characters.  The  earlier  runes  were 
written  from  the  right  to  the  left;  the  later  runic  inscriptions 
are  read  from  the  left  to  the  right,  The  later  runes  differ 
considerably  from  the  earlier  ones,  from  the  gradual  changes 
that  took  place,  some  falling  out  of  use,  till  only  sixteen  existed 
in  later  times.  Their  signification  also  changed. 

Were  it  not  for  the  evidence  of  the  finds  having  runic 
inscriptions  of  the  fuller  runic  alphabet,  it  would  have  seemed 
more  probable  that  the  less  developed  one  was  the  earlier ; 
but  in  the  face  of  the  most  indisputable  proofs  of  the  antiquity 
of  the  fuller  alphabet,  such  assertions  cannot  be  made.  The 
only  conclusion  to  which  this  leads  us  therefore  is,  that  the 
runic  alphabet  must  in  the  course  of  time  have  become 
simplified.  There  are  runic  inscriptions  which  contain  both 
earlier  and  later  runes,  but  the  former  at  last  gradually 

It  seems  that  the  custom  of  having  alphabets   on    objects 

1  Danish  coins  with  runic  characters 
have  been  obtained  from  as  early  a 
period  as  that  of  Svein  Ulfsson,  or  the 
12th  century.  A  runic  kcfli,  according 
to  its  contents,  carved  soon  after  1200, 
is  preserved  in  the  Danish  museum.  It 
was  found  in  Vinje  church,  Upper  Te- 
lemarken,  of  Norway.  The  in.-cription 
thereon  signifies:  Xii/itrd  Jurlson  traced 
these  Runes  the  Saturday  aftc'-  Ilutolf's 

mass,  if/ten  he  journeyed  hither  and  would 
not  be  reconciled  to  Sverre,  th<-  sl<ty/r  of 
his  father  ami  broth*,  r.  Sigurd  was  the 
son  of  the  well-known  Erling  Skakke; 
he  lost,  a  battle  against  Sverre  in  1'JOO. 
As  the  latter  died  in  1201',  it  was  be- 
t uern  these  two  dati->  that  the  unsuo 
eesst'ul  attempt  at  reconciliation  cceurred. 

(Stephens,    p.    515.) 

1 58 

such  as  the  Vadstrna  bracteate  existed  in  Greece  and  Etruria.1 
The  earliest  graves  in  the  Roman  colonies  in  which  there 
is  writing  an-  very  few;  what  writing  there  is  is  never  in  the 
language  of  the  people,  but  always  in  Latin  :  and  nearly  all,  if 
i  mi  all  such  graves,  are  those  of  Christian  people. 

The  art  of  writing  shows  the  advanced  civilisation  of  the 

Fig.  2<S."). — A  fibula  of  silver,  partly  gilt,  with  same  runic  letters,  with  slight 
variations.     Real  size. — Charnay,  Burgundy,  France  (of  Norse  origin). 

people   of    the    North    compared    with    that   of    the    other 

1  Dennis,  p.  306.  See  Signer  Gamur- 
rini,  who  lias  described  and  illustrated 
thi'in  (see  Ann.  lust.  18VI,  pp.  156-16U). 
Kranzius,  in  his  '  Elementa  Epigraphices 
Grace,'  p.  'J'J,  4to,  r.erolini,  1840, 
gives  three  Greek  alphabets  found  in- 
scribed in  the  same  manner  on  various 
objects.  No.  1,  of  twenty- four  letters,  is 

on  the  Agyllic  vase  first  engraved  by 
Lepsius  ('Annal.  Hist.  Archaeol.  Rom.,' 
vol.  viii.,  p.  186).  The  second  is  a  frag- 
ment, only  sixteen  letters,  found  on  the 
wall  of  an  Etruscan  sepulchre  (' Lanzi 
Saggio  di  ling.  Etr.,'  ii.,  p.  436).  The 
third  is  incomplete,  having  only  the  be- 
ginning, or  thu  first  fourteen  letters. 

HUNKS  NOT  OF  f,'A7,M/.I.Y  oil  HUN. 


countries  mentioned.  The  language  of  Tacitus'  is  plain 
enough,  and  any  other  interpretation  is  not  correct.  Tin- 
assertion  made  that  the  knowledge  of  writing  cairn-  to  the 
North  through  the  present  Germany  is  not  borne  out  by  the 
facts.  Runic  monuments  do  not  occur  south  of  the  river  Eider, 
either  on  detached  stones  or  engraved  on  rocks.  The  few  jewels 
found  scattered  here  and  there,  either  in  France  or  Germany'" 

Fig.  286. — Neck-ring  of  gold,  with  runes;  £  real  size  ;  found  (1838)  in  a  round 

mound. — Wai  Inch  ia. 

are  thoroughly  Northern,  and  show  that  in  these  places  the 
people  of  the  North  made  warfare,  as  corroborated  by  the  testi- 
mony of  the  Eddas  and  Sagas,  as  well  as  of  Frankish  and  old 
English  and  other  records. 

Great  indeed  has  been,  and  still  is,  the  harvest  of  runic 
monuments  or  objects  in  the  North.  Every  year  several  new 
objects  with  these  characters  are  discovered  in  fields,  bogs, 
and  graves,  or  when  old  walls  or  buildings  are  demolished. 

1  Tacitus  (Germ.  c.  19)  says:  "  Littc- 
riiriini  secrcta  riri  paritcr  ac  fcmhue 
ignorant"  (Men  mid  women  are  equally 
ignorant,  of  the  secrets  of  letter  writing). 

The  earliest  Latin  inscriptions  found   in 

the    North    have-    characters    unlike    the 




Kngland,  being  the  earliest  and  most  important  of  flic 
Northern  colonies,  possesses  many  monuments  and  objects  with 
runes  ;  among  them  a  large  knife,  now  in  the  British  Museum, 
found  in  the  bed  of  the  Thames,  the  blade  of  which  is  orna- 
mented with  gold  and  silver,  and  an  inscription  in  runes.1 

From  the  sagas  we  learn  that  runes  were  traced  on  staves, 
rods,  weapons,  the  stem  and  rudder  of  ships,  drinking-horns, 
iish  bones,  and  upon  the  teeth  of  Skipnir,  &c. 

In  Knnatal  (Odin's  liune  song),  or  the  last  part  of  Havamal, 
there  is  a  most  interesting  account  of  the  use  that  could  be 
made  of  runes.  It  shows  plainly  that  in  earlier  times  they 
were  not  used  by  the  people  in  general  for  writing;  that  they 
\\ero  mystic,  being  employed  for  conjurations  and  the  like, 
and  therefore  regarded  with  a  certain  awe  and  superstition; 
just  as  to-day  writing  is  looked  upon  by  certain  savage  tribes, 
who  cannot  be  made  to  understand  how  speech  can  be  trans- 
mitted and  kept  on  paper  for  an  indefinite  period. 

In  this  song,  Odin  is  supposed  to  be  teaching  some  one, 
and  giving  advice;  he  reckons  up  his  arts  thus:— 

I  know  tliat  I  hung 
On  the  windy  tree 
Nine2  whole  nights, 
Wounded  with  a  spear, 
Given  to  Odin, 
Myself  to  mysc-h  ; 
On  the  tree 

Of  which  no  one  knows 
Kn>m  what  roots  it  comes. 

They  gave  me  no  food 
Nor  a  horn  (drink)  ; 

I  peered  downward, 
I  caught  the  runes, 
Learned  them  weeping;3 
Thence  1  fell  down. 

Nine  songs  of  mi^ht 

1  learnt  from  the  famous 

Son  of  Bdlthorn,  father  of  Best  la; 

And  I  got  a  draught 

Of  the  precious  mead, 

Taken  out  of  Odrerir.5 

1  In  the  Royal  Library  at  Copenhagen 
there  exist  three  most  remarkable  manu- 
scripts in  runic  characters,  showing  the 
late  period  at  which  these  still  were  in 
use.  Tin-  first  of  these  manuscripts, 
heaving  the  date  of'  1543,  was  written 
as  a  journal  by  Mo^ens  Gyldenstjerne  (a 
Danish  noble)  of  Stjernholm.  during  a 
voyage  into  the  North  Sea  undertaken  by 
him  in  that  year.  The  second  bears  the 
date  <>f  l.~>47,  and  is  written  as  a  note  on 
a  vou<;h  draft  of  a  power  of  attorney 
by  P.ille  of  I'.re^entved,  another  Danish 
noble.  The  third  is  a  notice  about  the  last- 
mentioned  estate,  also  containing  a  line 

in  runic  characters. 

The  Runic  codex  containing  the  Scnnian 
law  also  contains,  in  a  different  hand,  a 
list  of  Danish  kings,  and  among  these 
one  Ambruthe  as  having  been  king  in 
Jutland.  The  time  of  this  codex  can  be 
approximately  fixed  at  about  the  year 
1 300. 

!  The  sacred  or  mystical  number. 

3  We  see  that  Odin  had  to  go  through 
a  terrible  ordeal  to  learn  the  runes. 

1  lioltliorn  and  Bestla  are  nowhere 
rise  mentioned  in  the  earlier  Edda. 

5  Song-rouser,  one  of  the  vessels  hold- 
ing the  sacred  mead. 


in-'  <nn\. 


Then  I  became  IVnitt'iil 

And  wise  : 

I  grew  ami  1  throve  ; 

Word  followed  word 

With  me ; 

Act  followed  act 

With  me. 

Thou  wilt  liud  runes 
And  letters  to  read, 
Very  large  staves, 
Very  strong  staves. 
Which  the  mighty  wise  one  drew, 
And  the  high  powers  made, 
And   the  Jlropt    of  the   gods  (Odin) 

Odin  (carved  runes)  among  the  Astir ;' 

Dain  with  the  Alfar ; 

Dvalin  with  the  Dvergar  ; 

Alsvid  (the  All-wise) 

With  the  Jotnar; 

Some  I  carved  myself. 

Better  'tis  not  to  invoke 

Than  sacrifice  too  much  ; 

A  gift  always  looks  for  reward  ; 

Better  not  to  send 

Than  offer  too  much  ; 

Thus  Thund2  carved 

Before  the  origin  of  men  ; 

He  rose  there ; 

There  he  came  back. 

I  know  incantations 

Which  no  king's  wife  knows, 

And  no  man's  son. 

Help  is  the  first  one  called, 

And  it  will  help  thee 

Against  strife  ami  sorrows, 

Against  all  kinds  of  grief. 

A  second  I  know, 

Which  the  sons  of  men  need, 

Who  would  as  leeches  live.3 

1  From  this  stanza  we  learn  which 
tribes  or  people  knew  the  art  of  writing 

"  Thund  =  Odin. 

3  Three  last  lines  ol'  >tanxa  are  missing. 

VOL.  T. 

The  third  I  know, 
If  I  am  in  sore  need  of 
Bonds  for  my  foes ; 
I  deaden  the  edges  ' 
i  If  my  foes  ; 

Neither  weapons   nor  wiles   hurt    for 

The  fourth  I  know, 

If  men  lay 

Bonds  on  my  limbs ; 

1  sing  (incantations)  so 

That  1  can  walk  ; 

The  fetter  flies  off  my  feet, 

And  the  shackles  off  my  hands. 

The  fifth  I  know, 

]f  I  see  an  arrow  Hying, 

Shot  to  harm  in  the  array; 

It  ilies  not  so  fast 

That  I  cannot  stay  it 

If  I  get  sight  of  it. 

The  sixth  I  know, 

If  a  man  wounds  me 

With  the  roots  of  a  young  tree;''' 

Illness  shall  eat 

The  man 

That  lays  spells  on  me, 

liather  than  me. 

The  seventh  I  know, 
If  I  see  a  hall  burning 
Round  the  sitting  men  ; 
It  burns  not  so  broadly 
That  I  cannot  save  them  ; 
Such  an  incantation  can  I  sing. 

The  eighth  1  know, 
Which  for  every  one  is 
Useful  to  learn  ; 
Where  hate  arises 
Among  sons  of  kings 
I  can  .allav  it  scon. 

4  The  edges  of  weapons.     Some  persons 
were    supposed    to    have    the    power    to 

deaden  weapons'  edges. 

5  Spells   on  the    roots    of  a  yonny;  tree 
in-  stick*. 



Tlic  ninth  I  know, 

1!  I  am  in  need 

TII  save  my  ship  alloat, 

I  hush  the  wind 

» >n  the  waves, 

And  calm  all  the  sea. 

Tin-  tenth  I  know, 
I!'  I  sec  hedge-riders  ' 
I'layinii  in  the  air, 
I  cause  thai-, 
They  go  astrav 
Out  of  their  skins, 
<  hit  id'  their  minds. 

The  eleventh   1  know, 

If!  shall  to  Lattle 

Lead  my  old  friends, 

I  sing  under  the  shields, 

And  they  go  with  might 

Safe  to  the  fray. 

Sale  out  of  the  fray, 

Safe  wherever  they  come  from. 

The  twelfth  I  know, 

If  I  see  on  a  tree 

A  halter-corpse  swinging ; 

1  carve  so 

And  draw  in  runes, 

That  the  man  shall  walk 

And  talk  to  me. 

The  thirteenth  I  know, 

If  1  do  on  a  young  thegn3 

Water  sprinkle  ; 

I  le  will  not  fall 

Though  he  go  into  kittle; 

That  man  sinks  not  by  swords. 

The  fourteenth  I  know, 
If  I  shall  reckon  up 

The  gods  for  the  host  of  men  : 

Asar  and  Altar4 

I  know  all  well ; 

Few  unwise  know  so  much. 

The  fifteenth  I  know, 

That  which  Thjodreyrir  •"'  sang, 

The     Dverg,     before     the     door     of 

Belling ;° 

lie  sang  strength  to  the  Asar 
And  fame  to  the  Alfar, 
Wisdom  to  Hroptayr.7 

The  sixteenth  1  know, 

If  of  the  comely  maiden 

I  want  all  the  heart  and  the  love, 

1  change  the  mind 

Of  the  white-armed  woman 

And  turn  all  her  heart. 

The  seventeenth  I  know, 

That  the  youthful  maiden 

Will  late  forsake  me. 

These  songs 

Wilt  thou  Loddfafnir  s 

Long  have  lacked, 

Though  they  are  good  if  thou  takest 


Useful  if  thou  learnest  them, 
Profitable  if  thou  takest  them. 

I  know  the  eighteenth, 

Which  I  will  never  tell 

To  maiden  or  man's  wife, 

Except  to  her  alone 

That  holds  me  in  her  arms, 

( >r  is  my  sister; 

All  is  better 

That  one  alone  only  knows.'-' 

This  is  the  end  of  the  song. 

1  Witches  and  ghosts  were  believed  to 
riilc  on  hedges  and  tops  of  houses  at 

'-'  Hanged  corjisr. 

::  Mao. 

'  lli'iv  the  Altar  arc  reckoned  anion» 
tlu>  gods. 

'''  The  mightv  rearer. 

u  Del  ling  is  the  father   of  Day  (Vaf- 
thrudnismal,  25  ;  Later  Edda). 
'  Odin. 

8  Loddfafnir  is  some  one  whom  Odin 
is  teaching. 

'•'  One  must  not  tell  his  secret  to  any 

"  MI-:A\I\G  OF  KUNES. 


Now  the  song  of  Har  is  sung, 
In  the  hall  of  Har; 
Very  useful  to  the  sous  of  men, 
Useless  to  the  sons  of  Jotnar.1 

Hail  to  him  who  sang ! 

Hail  to  him  who  knows! 

May  he  who  has  learned  profit  hy  it  ! 

Hail  to  those  who  have  listened! 

"  Atli  was  a  great,  powerful,  ami  wise  kino-  ;  he  had  many 
men  with  him,  and  took  counsel  with  them  how  lie  should  get 
the  gold  ;  he  knew  that  Gunnar  and  Hogni  \\ere  owners  of  so 
much  property 2  that  no  man  had  the  like;  of  it  :  he  sent  men  1o 
the  brothers  and  invited  them  to  a  feast  in  order  to  give  them 
many  gifts  ;  Ving'  was  the  leader  of  the  messengers.  The 
queen  knew  of  their  secret  talk,  and  suspected  treachery  against 
her  brothers.  She  cut  runes,  took  a  gold  ring,  and  tied  on  it 
a  wolf's  hair  ;  she  gave  this  to  the  king's  messengers.  They 
wen^  as  the  king  had  told  them,  and  before  they  landed  Vingi 
saw  the  runes  and  changed  them  so  that  they  meant  that 
Gudnin  wished  them  to  come  to  Atli.  Tliev  came  to  the  hall 


of  Gunnar  and  were  well  received  ;  large  fires  were  made 
before  them;  there  they  drank  merrily  the  best  drinks. 
Vingi  said  :  'King  Atli  sent  me  hither  and  wanted  yen  to  visit 
him  to  get  honour  and  large  gifts,  helmets  and  shields,  swords 
and  coats-of-mail,  gold  and  good  clothes,  warriors  and  horses 
and  large  estates,  and  he  says  he  would  rather  let  you  than 
any  others  have  his  realm.'  Then  Gunnar  turned  his  head  and 
said  to  Hogni :  '  What  shall  we  accept  of  this  offer  ?  He  offers 
us  a  large  realm,  but  I  know  no  kings  owning  as  much  gold  as 
we,  for  we  own  all  the  gold  which  lay  on  Gnitaheath,  and  large 
skemmas  (rooms)  filled  with  gold  and  the  best  cutting  weapons 
and  all  kinds  of  war-clothes;  I  know  my  horse  to  be  the  hest, 
mv  sword  the  keenest,  mv  orold  the  most  renowned.'  Hogni 

J  *"      t_  j 

answered  :  '  1  wonder  at  his  offer,  for  this  he  has  seldom  done, 
and  it  is  unadvisable  to  go  to  him.  1  am  surprised  that  among 
the  costly  things  which  Atli  sent  to  us  1  saw  a  wolf's  hair  tied 
on  a  gold  ring,  and  it  may  be  that  Gudnin  thinks  he  has  a 
wolfs  mind  (mind  of  a  foe)  towards  us,  and  that  the  wants  us 
not  to  go.'  Then  Vingi  showed  him  the  runes  which  he  said 
Gudnin  had  sent.  The  men  now  went  to  sleep,  while  they 
continued  drinking  with  some  others.  Then  Hogni's  wife, 
Kostbera,  a  most  handsome  woman,  went  to  them  and  looked  at 
the  runes.  She  and  Gunnar's  wife.  Glaum vor,  a  very  accom- 
plished woman,  brought  drink.  The  kings  became  very  drunk. 
Vingi  saw  this,  and  said  :  '  I  will  not  conceal  that  King  Atli  is 
very  heavy  in  his  movements,  and  too  old  to  defend  his  realm. 

•7  •/  *  f 

1    We    see    by    tins    and     many 
.issairos  th:\t  tin1  .liitnar  wore  tin-  o 


.1  tho  As:ir. 
2   Property  hove  inoan>  ':< 

.M    '2 

K;i  in  .VAX 

and  liis  s  .us  are  young  and  good  for  nothing;  lie  wishes  to 
give  you  [tower  over  the  realm  while  they  are  so  young,  and 
he  prefers  you  to  enjoy  it,'  Now  (lunnar  was  very  drunk,  and 
a  great  realm  was  offered  to  him,  and  he  could  not  resist  fate  ; 
he  promised  to  go,  and  told  it  to  his  brother  Hogni,  who 
aiisuered  :  'Your  resolve  must  be  carried  out,  and  I  will  follow 
thee,  but  L  am  unwilling  to  go  '  '  (Volsunga,  e.  .">.'">). 

UuiH-s  were  occasionally  used  as  charms  in  cases  of  illness. 

Egil  went  on  a  journey  to  Vermaland  to  collect  the  tax 
from  the  Jarl  Arnvid,  who  was  suspected  of  having  slain 
King  Hakon  the  Good's  men  when  they  went  thither  for  this 
purpose.  On  the  way  he  came  to  the  house  of  a  bondi  named 

"As  Egil  and  Thortinn  sat  and  took  their  meal,  Egil  saw 
that  a  woman  lay  sick  on  the  cross-bench,  and  asked  who  she 
was.  Thortinn  answered  that  she  was  his  daughter  Helga. 
She  had  been  long  ill  from  a  \ery  wasting  sickness;  she 
could  not  sleep  at  night,  and  was  like  one  ham-stolen1  (crazy). 
'Has  anything  been  tried  for  her  illness?'  said  Egil.  Thor- 
fiim  said  :  'liunes  have  been  traced  bv  the  son  of  a  bondi  in 


the  neighbourhood,  but  she  is  far  more  ill  since  than  she  was 
before;  canst  thou  do  anything  for  such  an  illness?'  Egil 
answered  :  '  It  may  be  that  it  will  not  be  worse  though  I 
take  charge  of  it.'  When  he  had  done  eating  he  went  to 
where  she  lay  and  spoke  to  her.  He  bad  that  she  be  taken 
out  of  bed  and  clean  clothes  put  under  her,  which  was  done. 
Then  lie  examined  the  bed,  and  there  found  a  piece  of  whale- 
bone with  runes  on  it.  He  read  them,  cut  them  off,  and 
scraped  the  chips  into  the  fire;  he  burned  the  whalebone 
and  had  her  clothes  carried  into  the  open  air.  Then  Egil 

sang  :- 

As  man  shall  not  trace  nines  I  saw  on  the  cut  whalebone 

Except  he  can  read  them  wcP,  Ten  hidden2  letteis  carved, 

It  is  thus  with  many  a  man  That  have  caused  to  the  leek-linden 

That  the  dark  letters  bewilder  (woman) 

him.  A  very  loiii;'  sorrow. 

Egil    traced    runes,  and  placed   them    under  the   pillow  in 

the  bed  where   she  rested.  It  seemed  to   her  as  if  she  awoke 

from   a  sleep,  and   she  said  she  was  then  healed,  though  she 

Of  witches  =  shape-stolen.  |  •  lTnili>ri|>ln>r;il>lc. 

sri-:<:i.\i.  rs/-;x  OF  /.T.VAX. 

had  little  strength.      Her  father  and  mother  were  very  glad 
(Evil's  Saga,  e.  T."»). 

When  persons  were  deaf,  they  eonuuunieated  with  others  by        \ 
means  of  nines. 

"  Thorkel  told  his  sister  Orny  that  the  steersman  had  come 
to  his  house,  saying  :  '  L  wish,  kinswoman,  that  tlion  shouldst 
serve1  him  during  the  winter,  for  most  other  men  have 
enough  to  do.'  Urny  carved  runes  on  a  wood-stick,  for  she 
could  not  speak,  and  Thorkel  took  it  and  read.  The  wood- 
stick  told  this:  'I  do  not  like  to  undertake  to  serve  the 
steersman,  for  my  mind  tells  me  that,  it'  1  do,  much  evil 
will  come  of  it.'  He  became  angry  because  his  sister  declined, 
so  that  when  she  saw  it  she  consented  to  serve  Ivar,  and  con- 
tinued to  do  so  during  the  winter"  (Thorstein  Uxafot,  Forn- 
manna  Sogur.  110). 

Runes  traced  on  sticks  (krfli),  which  were  sometimes  used, 
did  not  offer  proper  security  against  falsification,  unless  per- 
sonal runes  were  used,  whicli  however  were  known  only  to  a 
very  limited  number. 

An  Icelandic  settler  named  Gris,  who  had  gone  on  a  journey 
to  Norway,  was  going  back  to  Iceland  from  Nidaros  (Thrond- 

"  A  woman  came  to  him  with  two  children,  and  asked  him 
to  take  them  with  him.  He  asked  :  'What  have  they  to  do 
there?'  She  said  that  their  uncle  Thorstein  Svorf  lived  in  the 
district  where  Gris  had  a  boer,  and  that  her  name  was  Thorarna. 
Gris  said  :  '  I  will  not  do  that  without  some  evidence.'  Then 
she  gave  him  from  under  her  cloak  a  stick  on  which  were  inany 
words  known  to  Thorstein.  Gris  said  :  '  Thou  wilt  think  me 
greedy  tor  property.'  She  asked  :  '  Ask  as  much  as  thou  wilt  ?  ' 
He  answered:  'Four  hundreds  in  very  good  silver,  and  thou 
must  follow  with  the  children.'  '  It  is  not  possil  >le  for  me  to  follow 
them,'  she  said,  "  but  I  will  pay  what  thou  askest.'  She  told 
him  the  name  of  the  boy  Klaufi,  and  of  the  girl  Sigrid.  Gris 
added  :  'How  hast  thou  become  so  wretched,  thou  who  art  of 
such  good  kin  ?'  She  replied  :  '  I  was  taken  in  war  by  Siuvkoll 
Ljotsson,  who  is  the  father  of  these  children  ;  after  which  he 
drove  me  away  against  my  will.' 

"  Gris  had  a.  favourable  wind  after  he  had  taken  these  children 

1    Take  rare  i>C  Ills  clothes,  &c. 


(iii  board,  ;iinl  sailed  In  Iceland  into  tin-  same  river-mouth 
as  usual;  and  as  soon  as  he  had  landed  he  carried  away 
l)oth  children,  *o  that  no  one  knew  of  his  coining.  That 
evening  he  \\ent  to  Thorstein  at  (irnnd,  who  received  him  very 
\\ell,  mostly  because  his  son  Karl  had  gone  abroad  at  the 
time  that  <!ris  had  l»een  abroad,  and  Thorstein  wanted  to  ask 
iibout  his  journey,  (iris  spoke  little.  Thorstein  inquired  it' 
he  was  ill.  <  iris  answered  that  it  was  rather  that  he  was  not 
well  pleased  with  his  doings;  'for  I  have  brought  hither  two 
children  of  thy  sister.'  'How  can  that  be?'  said  Thorstein. 
'  And  I  will  not  acknowledge  their  relationship  unattested.' 
Then  (iris  showed  him  the  stick,  and  he  recognized  his 
words  therenn,  though  it  was  long  since  he  spoke  them. 
He  acknowledged  the  children,  but  paid  (iris  to  bring  up 
Klauti"  (Svarfdada.  c.  11). 

"Klaufi  and  Gris  sailed  from   Solskel  southward  along  the 
Norwegian   coast,   until   they  came  to  an   islet,  where   layt\\o 

«•  •/ 

ships  with  no  men  on  them.  They  jumped  on  board  one  of 
the  ships,  and  Klaufi  said:  'Tell  thon,  Gris,  who  has  steered 
these  ships,  for  here  are  runes,  which  tell  it.'  Gris  said  he  did 
not  know.  Klaufi  answered  :  '  Thou  knowest,  and  must  tell.' 
Gris  was  obliged  to  do  so,  against  his  will,  and  thus  rend  the 
runes:  '  Karl  steered  the  ship  \\lien  the  runes  were  carved' 
(Svarfdsela,  c.  14). 

"  One  summer  in  the  time  of  King  Harald  Hardradi  it 
happened,  as  was  often  the  case,  that  an  Icelandic  ship  came 
to  Nidaros  (Throndhjem).  On  this  ship  there  was  a  poor  man 
who  kept  watch  during  the  night.  While  all  slept  he  saw 
two  men  go  secretly  up  to  Gaularas  with  digging  tools  and 
begin  to  dig  :  he  saw  they  sen  relied  for  property,  and  when 
he  came  on  them  unawares  he  saw  that  they  had  dug  up  a 
chest  filled  with  property.  He  said  to  the  one  who  seemed 
to  be  the  leader  that  he  wanted  three  marks  for  keeping  quiet, 
and  some  more  if  he  should  wish  it.  Thorfiim  assented  to 
this,  and  weighed  out  to  him  three  marks;  when  they  opened 
the  chest  a  large  ring  and  a  thick  necklace  of  gold  lay  upper- 
most. The  Icelander  saw  runes  carved  on  the  chest;  these 
said  that  Hakon  Jarl  had  been  the  owner  of  this  property" 
(Fornmanna  Sogur,  vi.  271*. 

One  day  Thurid,  the  old  foster-mother  of  Thorbjorn  Ongul, 
an  enem  of  Grettir,  asked  to  be  taken  down  to  the  sea. 

she  came  there,  she  found  the  stump  of  a  tree  with 
the   roots  on,  as   large   as  a  man  could  carry.     She  looked  at 

7A(  '.I  .v  T.  iT 

>•/•:/  >  OP'  /•://  /;  /  \  /  >  . 


the  stump,  and  had  it  turned  round.  ()n  one  side  it  looked 
,-is  it'  it  hud  been  bun:ed  and  rubbed.  On  this  side  she  had 
u  small  spot  smoothed  with  a  knife.  Then  she  took  her  knite 
and  carved  runes  on  it,  and  reddened  it  with  her  Mood. 
,siii<»'inj!r  words  of  witchcraft  over  it.  She  \\alked  backwards 

O        u 

around  the  stump,  in  the  opposite  direction  to  the  sun's  course, 
and  pronounced  many  powerful  incantations  thereover.  Then 
she  had  it  pushed  out  into  the  sea,  and  said  it  should  be  driven 

iv.  -JS7. — Stone  axe  with  earlier  runes  ;  rj  real  size. — Upland. 

Fig.  288.  —  Earlier  runic  inscription  discovered  (1872)  on  a  perpendicular  bluff  '2u  feet 
high  and  about  '200  feet  from  the  shore,  at  Yalsfjord,  Fosen,  North,  Throndhjem. 
Tin-  runes  are  carved  in  a  perpendicular  line  from  the  bottom  tip.  Hardly 
anytime  is  left  of  the  letters.  The  Runes;  ^  real  size. 

out  to  Drangey,  and  cause  ^reat  mischief  to  (Irettir.  A\  hen 
Grettir  was  "cutting  the  stump  for  firewood  with  an  axe,  he 
wounded  himself  severely  above  the  knee1'1  (Gretti's  Saga, 


The  deeds  of  warriors  were  recorded  on  runic  staves  :- 

()rvar-Odd.  \\hen  very  old,  desired  to   revisit   the  scenes  of 

his  childhood,  where  a  Volva  had  foretold  him  that  his  death 

would  be   caused  by  the  head  of  the  horse  Faxi,  at  his  birth- 

place, Hrafnista.     When  he  arrived  there  he  walked  around  on 

1  Cf.  also  GifttiV  S:iga.  c.  G'2. 



l-irni,  and  his  foot  struck  the  skull  of  a   horse,  au<l   a  viper 
came  out  of  it  and  hit  him  iu  the  loir. 

"He  suffered  so  much  from  this  wound  that  they  had  to 
lc;id  him  do\\u  to  the  shore.  When  lie  got  there  he  said  : 
•  No\\  you  must  go  and  hew  a  stone  coffin  for  me.  while  some 
shall  sit  at  my  side  and  carve  that  song  which  I  will  compose 







al>out  my  <leeds  and  life.'  Then  he  l>egan  making  the  song,1 
and  they  carved  it  on  a  tablet,2  and  the  nearer  the  poem  drew 
to  its  end,  the  more  the  life  of  Odd  ebbed  away"  (Orvar  Odd's 
Saga  ;  Fornaldar  Sogur.  p.  .">f>X). 

:    KvM'di,  n  poem  nr  song.     The 
f'iiMst>  of  seventy-one  stan/.as  with  ei^ht 
verses    each,    and    the    manuscripts    are 

late  and  conn  pi  e.|.      It  is  evidently  made 
up    I'roin    the     lives    nt'   several    warriors,    ! 

and  ot'U'ii  exaggerated,  e.g.,  that  he  lived 
300  years,  and  that  his  height  was  1<! 
nr  '24  feet. 

"  Speldi  —  talilet,  flat  piece  of'  wood. 

TAX  I'M  Ifl'Mf  STONE. 


"  The  two  brothers  .lokul  and  Thorstein  wen-  to  meet 
Finnbogi  for  a  Holmganga.1  As  he  did  not  come,  they  took 
a  post  from  the  latter's  farm  ;  .lokul  carved  a  man's  head 

l-'i.Lj.  '-"J(i.  —  Earlier  runes  mi  granitu  lilnrk.     About  In  t'eet  high,  4  feet.  11  iiirli 
at  widest  jiart,  ami  ',1  indite  t  lurk.  —  Tannin.  UohiisKin,  S 

at    one    end,    and    traxred    in    runes   an    account   of  what    had 
occurred  that  day"  (Vatnsda-la.  :!l). 

The  inscriptions  of  the.  earlier  runes,  the  translation  of  which 
must  be  received  with  extreme  caution,  are  short,  while  those 
of  a  later  period  are  much  longer. 

1   A  form  of  i|  nulling!. 



V\v.  'JIM. — Kmuc  stone,  showing  transition  between  earlier  and  later  runes,  armiit 
4i  feet  nliove  "Tounii  ;  breadth,  '2  feet  4  inches. — Stentol'te,  Blekinge,  Sweilen. 

Ki<;.  2!l'_'. — Part    of  stone    block,  with    earlier  runes. — Torvik,  Norway.      Eight  feet 
In    indies     in    li-n^lli     by    :i    feet    2    inches    wide,   witli    a   thickness    of   from 

•2\  to  ::;  feet. 

//r.\/r  *ro.\r  or  n.\<n;y. 


Fig.  293. — Red  quartz  stoue,  with  earlier  runes  and  warrior  on  horseback.    Height. 
8   feet  3  inches,  but  only    6   feet  above   ground;    greatest   breadth,   5    I'cct. 
Hagby,  Upland. 


Fig.  '294. — Granite  slab  of  a  stone  coffin  in  a  grave-mound,  forming  our  of  the  sides 
,'j  rtial  sixe. — Torvik,  Hardanger,  Norwav. 



l''i'_r.  '-'!'"). — Runic  stone,  earlier  ruues.      Length,  7  feet  "1  inches;   width,  2  feet 
4  inches.  —  P>erga,  Siiilermanland,  Sweden.1 

1  Professor  Stephens  in  '  Handbook  of  Old  Northern  Runic  Monuments,'  says: 
'•The  only  Northern  stone  known  to  me  which  bears  two  words,  cut  far  apart  and 
running  in  di Mi- rent  directions.  I  would  therefore  suggest  that  the  one  name  is 
curved  later  than  the  other.  Perhaps  the  husband  or  wife  died  first,  and  short!  v 
.•liter  the  partner  was  called  away;  thus  they  mo>t  likely  lay  in  the  same  grave, 
and  were  reinc'inhercd  on  the  same  block." 

lii'MC  tiTO\]-:  <>!•'  BJORKTORP. 

IMS.  -J96. — Runic  stone,  earlier  runes.  Height,  over  13  feet;  greatest  \\idth.a  liUlc 
over  3  feet;  with  letters  about  6  inches  long;  near  a  dom  ring. —  Kjorktorp, 
Blekinge,  Swedeu.  See  ))•  o!4  for  grave. 



l-'.arlior  rntiic  stone  ;  about  7  feet  7  inches  long,  and  at  its  bioadest 
ji:irt  3  Cci't  l>  inclu's. — \nr\vay. 

Tvxi-:  WITH  i-:.\ni.ii-:n  A\I>  LATKH  //r.v/.x 



Fig.  ii'J8. — Granite  block  with  earlier  and  later  runes  (the  earlier  runes  in  the  centre). 
Height,  5  feet  3  inches;  greatest  breadth,  3  feet;  average  thickness,  1  font. — 
Ska-ang,  Sodermanland,  °—~J — 



Ki',r.  •_".''. i. — K.-u-lier  runic  stone, 
Sigdal,  Norway. 

Fig.  300. — Earlier  runic  stone  discovered  in 
1880,  in  a  ruined  grave-mound  which 
mntaiiKMl  a  slab  stone  chest;  one  of  the 
side  slabs  liore  runes,  and  is  given  here. 
It  lias  jirobably  stood  on  another  mound 
lie  lore  it  was  put  to  this  use. — Bergen 
Museum,  Torvik,  Hardaugei,  Norway. 

STO:\I:  OF  ru 


1%  :^^^fc:x*rC ;  k :; 


ig.  301.  —  Tune  stone  (with  earlier  runes)  of  red  granite;  found  in  a  graveyard 
wall  surrounding  the  church  of  Tune,  near  Moss,  entrance  of  Christ  iania  fjord. 
Height,  <3  feet  7  inehos;  greatest  width,  '2  feet  4  inches. 

VOL.  I. 




Fig.  302. Earlier  runic  inscription  on  a  bluff,  11  feet  above  high-water  mark. — 

Y'tcbluiio-siires,  Romsdal,  Norway. 


Fig.  303. — Runic  stone,  having  the  longest  runic  inscription  known,  composed  of 
over  760  letters.  Height,  12  feet;  width,  t>  feet. — In  the  Churchyard  of  R8k, 
Ostergotland,  Sweden. 



Not  only  do  the  finds  prove  to  us  how  extensive  were  the 
voyages  and  journeys  of  the  vikings,  but  many  of  the  runic- 
stones  add  their  testimony  to  these  and  the  sagas,  often  men- 
tioning journeys  in  distant  lands  both  for  peaceful  and  warlike 
purposes.  There  are  four  runic  stones  extant  on  which  Knut 
the  Great  is  mentioned  as  "Knut  who  went  to  England" ;  the 

Kit;.  :iu4. — Marble  lion,  with  later  runic  inscription.     Height,  10  feet.     Now  at 
Venice,  whither  it  was  brought  from  the  Piraeus  in  1687. ' 

TTiingamenn  or  Thing amannalid  is  mentioned  on  at  least  two 
runic  stones. 

1  Rugge,  by  comparing  Ihe  runic  in- 
scription on  the  Pirteus  marble  lion  now 
at  Venice,  comes  to  the  conclusion  that, 
while  the  damaged  state  of  the  inscrip- 
tion makes  it  impossible  to  decipher  it  as 
a  whole,  enough  can,  however,  be  read  to 

show  its  approximate  date,  and  also  the 
home  of  the  tracer.  The  snake-slins*  and 
runes  on  this  lion  in  all  probability  are 
trnced  by  a  man  from  Sweden,  who  has 
been  among  the  Vrerings  or  Varangians. 

N    2 



Fig.  305.— Later  runic  stone,  with  animal  and  bird. — Upland. 






>  ^ 
i  '~ 






>  JZ. 

op  •- 

^  "a! 

Fig.  311. — King  Gorm's  stone,  with  later  runes. — Jellinge,  Jutland.     Front  view. 

M>'    "   ' 


.  %  L        psrE-- 
J®B?B  i&^il&tL^  -  '^:''    ^: 

1  '•;  •&**',  • 

Fig.  312.-  Back  view  of  King  Gorm's  stone. 

is  I 


The  inscription  on  tin-  al»ove  stone  runs  thus,  the  translation 
being  literal  :  "Haraltrkimukrbath  k><urua  kail  t/iausi  aft  knnn 
(Gorni)  fiithur sinaukaftth/curuimuthursma,  sa  liaraltr  ias  stvr 
int a  tanmaurk  al«  «nk  nuruiak  ank  tana  ....  tkristnse"  = 
llarald  king  bade  make  mounds  these  after  Gorm,  father  his 
and  after  Tliyra,  mother  his,  that  Harald  who  swore,  Denmark 
all  and  Norway  and  Dane  ....  to  christianize. 

The  historical  mounds  of  King  (lorm  and  his  queen  Thyra 
arc  respectively  '200  and  230  feet  in  diameter,  and  about  40  feet 
lii.irh  (see  p.  IS.'!);  the  burial  chamber  of  King  Gorm  was  of 
wood.  'I'l  feet  lon<r,  4^  feet  high,  8  feet  wide.  In  the  grave 
\\riv  found  a  small  silver  cup,  a  bronze  cross  covered  with 
gold,  a  \\ooden  figure  representing  a  warrior  in  armour,  several 
mrtal  mountings,  &c. 



'  -' 

J^p,  XitySs',;    ,    -\firp..,»i  & 

&rVf ;&<',;,.;& ,,  J;?);  ,--:^C::  tu^.^C 

Fig.  314. — Runic  stone  in  shipform  grave,  Ujilaml.  In  the  grave  was  found  a  helmet, 
apparently  ni;i>le  of  iron-plate,  with  ornaments  of  bronze  in  imitation  of  eye- 
brows;  also  ,1  helmet-cre.'-t.  On  the  helmet  were  numerous  representations  of 
horsemen  with  spears  and  carrying  shields  on  their  left  arms,  in  front  of  the 
horses  a  snake,  and  in  front  of  and  behind  each  horseman  a  bird  living. 

Fig.  .'ilfi. — Baptismal  stone  font. — Langhem  Church,  Sweden. 


Fig.  316. — Baptismal  stone  with  runes  and  a  representation  of  Gunnnr  in  the  snake- 
pit,  used  as  font  in  a  church,  Bohusliin.     No  Christian  symbol  is  marked  upon  it. 

Fig.  317. 

Fig.  318. 

F'g-  319.  Fig.  320. 

Baptismal  fonts  with  runic  inscriptions,  some  apparently  heathen. 

RUNIC  STONES  ILLUSTRATING  Till:  \'<>I.SU.\<;.\  SAdA.       1*7 

Two  rock-tracings  found  at  Ramsund  and  Geek,  on  the 
southern  shores  of  Lake  Malar,  province  of  Sodennanland, 
Sweden,  show  how  deeply  preserved  in  the  memory  <>f  the 
people  all  over  the  North  is  the  history  of  the  Volsungar  as 
told  in  the  earlier  Edda,  and  the  Saga  of  that  name.  To 
the  late  Professor  Carl  Save  we  are  indebted  for  the  discovery 
of  these  two  mementoes  of  the  past.  I  here  give  the  repre- 
sentation of  the  finer  of  the  two,  which  is  engraved  on  granite. 

The  scene  is  surrounded  below  by  sculpture,  and  covered 
with  runes  above  are  two  serpents  twisted  together,  one  without 
runes.  Below  the  large  snake  Sigurd  on  his  knee  pierces 

Fig.  321. — Tracing  of  later  runes  illustrating  the  Eddaic  songs  and  Vnlsunsa  sasa. 
Length,  16  feet ;  width,  from  4  to  5  feet. — Ramsund  Rock,  Sudermanland, 

'.vith  his  sword  the  body  of  the  reptile.  In  the  midst  between 
the  snake  the  horse  Graiii  is  standing,  made  fast  to  a  tree  where 
two  birds  are  seen.  On  the  left  Sigurd,  seated,  roasts  on  the  fire. 
at  the  end  of  a  stick,  the  heart  of  Fafnir.  Round  the  lire  are 
deposited  pincers,  an  anvil,  bellows,  and  hammer ;  the  head  of 
the  smith  (blacksmith)  Regin  is  seen  separated  from  the 
trunk.  Then  above  is  sculptured  an  animal,  which  looks  like 
a  fox — no  doubt  the  otter — for  the  murder  of  which  was 
given,  as  ransom,  the  rich  treasure  so  fatal  to  Fafnir  and  to  all 
those  who  possessed  it  after  him.  The  runic  inscription  has 
not  the  slightest  connection  with  the  scene,  not  even  with 
Sigurd  Fafnisbani.  As  Mr.  Save  remarks.  Sigurd  or  Holmger, 


and  perhaps  both,  believed  that  they  \\ere  descended  from 
Siirurcl  Fal'nisbani,the  famous  hero  of  the  Yolsunga. 

Tin-  tracing  on  the  stone  of  Geek,  not  far  trurn  the  city  of 
StreugeiuBS,  is  about  half  the  length  of  that  on  the  Ramsund 
stone,  but  of  the  same  width,  and  is  not  as  fine.  The  subject 
is  treated  in  a  somewhat  similar  manner:  the  hammer  is  on 
the  ground,  while  on  the  Ramsund  stone  it  is  in  the  man's 
hand.  Above  the  horse  Grani  is  a  Christian  cross. 

The  runic-  inscription,  here  also  upon  a  snake,  surrounds  the 
liirures,  but  has  nothing  to  say  about  Sigurd  Fafnisbani. 

I-!,.  :;-_"J. — Oscan  inscription  (first  three  lines)  on  a  bronze  tablet  in  British  Museum. 

Fig.  323.  —  Greek  inscription  on  bronze  axe  from  Calabria,  in  the  British  Museum- 

Fiu.  324.  —  Archaic  Greek  inscription  in  the  British  Museum. 

From   the  facsimile  illustrations  given  of  Etruscan,  Greek 
and  earliest  Roman  inscriptions   chosen   at   random  from  the 



museums,  the  reader  will  be  able  to  judge  for  himself,  and 
probably  see  how  much  more  closely  the  earlier  runes  re- 
semble the  Greek  archaic  and  Etruscan  inscriptions  than  the 
Latin  ones. 


Fig.  32o. — Bronze  tablet,  first  three  lines.     Treaty  between  the  Eleans  and  Hermans 
of  Arcadia;  copied  from  "Ancient  Greek  Inscriptions"  in  the  British  Museum. 


(Menelaos.)  (Hector.) 

Fig.  326. — These  three  archaic  inscriptions  are  found  on  a  vase  from  Camirus  in 
Rhodes,  now  in  the  British  Museum. 

Fig.  327.  —  Etruscan  inscription  on  a  sepulchral  urn  in  the  British  Museum. 

Fig.  328.  —  Etruscan  inscription  on  an  urn  in  the  British  Museum. 

Fig.  329.  —  Etruscan  inscription  on  a  sarcophagus  from  Toscane;la,  in  the 

British  Museum. 




P'ig.  330. — Plaque  of  terra-cotta,  representing  Poseidon,  painted.     Found  near 
Corinth.     Now  in  the  Louvre. 

Fig.  331. — Latin  inscription. 

i  O      \0 

Fig.  332. — Sarly  Latin  inscription  :   jiainted  on  a  vase  in  British  Museum. 


Fig.  333.  —  Etruscan  inscription,  on  a  sarcophagus  from  Tnsraiiclla,  in  the 

British  Museum. 

Fig.  334. — On  an  Etruscan  sepulchral  monument  in  terra-cotta,  British 


Fig  335. — Bronze  spear-point,  with  earlier 
runes,  and  svastica  and  triskele  stamped 
on  it.  Length  16J  inches. — Venice,  island 
of  Torcello.  \  real  size. 

Fig.  336. — Iron  spear-point,  with  runes  and 
figures  inlaid  with  silver,  discovered  in  a 
mound  with  burnt  bones  and  weapons. — 
Miincheberg,  Mark-Brandenburg.  \  real 




Fig.  337. — Iron  spear-point,  with 
runes  and  figures  inlaid  with 
silver. —  Volhynu,  Russia.  5 
real  size. 

Fig.  338. — Runic  stone  found  at  Collingham, 



Numerous  Greek  and  Roman  objects — -Intentional  destruction  of  weapons — 
Thorsberg  find — Coats  of  mail — Garments  and  harness — Weapons  and 
ornaments — TheVimose  find — The  sax — Bronze  and  iron  spurs — Carpen- 
ter's plane — The  Kragehul  find — The  Nydam  find — Discovery  of  a  large 
oak  boat— Its  construction — Various  weapons,  tools,  and  ornarmnts — 
Damascened  swords. 

BEFORE  passing  on  to  other  parts  of  our  wide  subject,  let  us 
examine  somewhat  more  minutely  and  in  detail  the  various 
classes  of  remarkable  objects  which  have  been  found  in  the 
lands  of  the  old  Norsemen,  belonging  to  the  earlier  iron  age. 

The  bog  finds1  are  very  important, 
and  throw  additional  light  on  the 
earlier  history  of  the  people.  From 
them  we  are  able  to  see  how  people 
were  dressed,  and  to  learn  about 
their  riding  equipment,  agricultural 
implements,  cooking  utensils,  house- 
hold vessels,  waggons,  tools,  and 
offensive  and  defensive  weapons; 
from  one  of  these  also  we  were  first 
made  acquainted  with  their  sea-  Fig.  339.— Shield  boss  of  bronze 
vessels.  Many  of  the  objects  appear  "',ith  ':atin  ,insrrii'ti""  AKLAK- 

/  J        .     .  LIANAS.     1  real   size.— Thors- 

to  beot  Greek  or  Koman  origin,  and       bjerg  find. 

Roman  coins  are  found,  so  that  we 

can   approximate  closely   the  date  when  the  objects  were  in 

use,  and  consequently  the  taste  and  manner  of  living  of  the 


1  Bog  finds  belonging  to  the  bronze 
age,  as  well  MS  to  the  iron  age,  have 
been  discovered  in  many  places  in  th>' 
North.  Those  of  the  bronze  age  consist 

VOL.  I. 

chiefly  of  swords,  lance-heads,  axes, 
sickles,  &c.  Objects  of  the  bronze  age 
are  also  found  deposited  undi-r  st.  nes  or 
in  field>. 




We  can  dress  a  warrior  from  head  to  foot,  and  wonder  at 
his  costly  and  magnificent  equipment,  and  his  superb  and 
well-finished  weapons,  and  can  realise  how  magnificent  must 
have  been  some  of  his  riding  and  driving  vehicles. 

All  these  antiquarian  bog-finds  are  within  very  easy  access 
of  the  sea,  varying  in  depth  beneath  the  surface  of  the  earth- 
in  the  Thorsbjerg  bog,  10-14  feet;  in  the  Nydam,  5-7  feet; 

Fig.  340. — Bronze  breast-plate,  covered  with  gold  and  silver. — Thorsbjerg  find. 

the  Vimose,  4-5  feet.  Those  of  Denmark  have  proved  far 
richer  than  those  of  the  present  Sweden,  Norway,  and  the 
countries  situated  <m  the  eastern  and  southern  shores  of  the 
Baltic.  In  numerous  instances  the  objects  are  unique,  and 
many  present  a  great  similarity  to  those  found  in  the  skeleton 
graves,  such  as  swords  with  Roman  characters  upon  them, 
fragments  of  wooden  buckets,  checkers,  dice,  &c. 


Here  also,  as  in  the  graves  where  the  bodies  were  burnt,  \ve 
find  objects  intentionally  damaged.  This  bending,  twistinir. 
and  hacking  of  weapons  seems  to  have  been  a  religious  custom. 
The  spear-handles,  scabbards,  bows,  arrow-shafts,  and  shield^ 
are  often  broken  into  fragments,  or  rolled  together  in  inex- 
tricable knots.  Ringed  coats  of  mail  and  garments  are  torn 
to  pieces,  which  afterwards -were  wrapped  carefully  together; 

Fig.  341. — Fragments  of  silver  shield 
boss,  with  gilt  ornameiits. —  Thors- 
bjero;  find. 

Fig.  342.— Silver  helmet.— Thorsbjerg  find. 

Fig.  343. — Bronze    serpent  :    probably 
ornament  to  helmet. — Thorsbjerg  find. 

and   the   skulls   and  skeletons  of   horses   are    cleft    in  many 

These  masses  of  objects  seem  to  imply  that  they  were  either 
the  spoils  and  remains  of  great  fights  between  different  chief- 
tains, or  offers  to  the  gods  thrown  into  sacred  springs.  In 
this  latter  case  the  finds  must  be  the  produce  of  a  long  series 
of  years,  and  have  been  given  to  the  gods  at  different  times, 

o   2 


the  destruction,  instead  of  taking  place  on  the  pyre,  having 
taken  place  on  the  water. 

This  destruction  was  not  apparently  peculiar  to  the  in- 
habitants of  the  North,  for  Caesar  relates  of  the  Grauls,  that 
when  they  went  into  battle  they  made  a  vow  to  consecrate  the 
booty  to  the  god  of  war.  After  the  victory  the  captured 
animals  were  sacrificed,  and  the  rest  of  the  booty  was  brought 
together  into  one  spot. 

The  narrative  of  Orosius  offers  the  most  striking  similarity 
between  this  custom  and  that  of  the  Cimbrians  and  Teutons, 

Fig.  344. — Bronze  buckle  inlaid  with  gold  and  silver,  for  ring  armour;   the  back 
shows  how  the  rings  were  attached,     jj  real  .size. — Thorsbjerg  Bog-find. 


who,  when  coming  from  the  North  after  their  victory  over  the 
Romans  at  Arausia  (near  the  river  Rhone),  in  the  year  105 
before  Christ,  sacrificed  the  whole  of  the  booty.  He  relates  :— 

'  When  the  enemies  had  taken  possession  of  two  camps  and 
an  immense  booty,  they  destroyed  under  new  and  strange 
imprecations  all  that  had  fallen  into  their  hands.  The  clothes 
\\vre  torn  and  thrown  away,  gold  and  silver  thrown  into  the 
river,  the  ring  armour  of  the  men  cut  to  pieces,  the  accoutre- 
ments of  the  horses  destroyed,  the  horses  themselves  thrown 
into  the  water,  and  the  men  with  ropes  around  their  necks 



Fig.  345. — Bronze  plate,  covered  with  gold  and  silver,  belonging  to  ring  armour. — 

Thorsbjerg  Hud. 

Fig.  346. 

Fig.  347. 

Fig.  348.  Fig.  349. 

Figures,  made  of  thin  silver  plates, 
belonging  to  bronze  plate. 

Fig.  350. — Fragment  of  ring  armour, 
Real  size. 



suspended  to  the  trees,  so  that  there  was  no  more  booty  for 
the  victors  than  there  was  mercy  for  the  conquered." 

One  might  suppose  that  Orosius  has  here  described  the 
feast  of  victory  at  Nydam  or  Tkorsbjerg. 

If  any  proofs  were  needed  to  show  that  the  objects  were 
intentionally  placed  in  the  water,  we  have  them  in  the  fact 
that  several  clay  vessels  have  been  sunk  by  heavy  stones  being 
put  in  them,  and  that  other  objects  were  fastened  to  the 
bottom  by  means  of  large  wooden  hooks.  Finally,  we  ought 
to  add,  the  space  within  which  the  antiquities  were  found 
was  in  several  places  marked  off  by  fence-like  wicker  hurdles 
of  twigs,  or  by  poles,  spears  or  swords,  stuck  into  the  mud. 

The  Thorsljerg1  Bog-jind. — The  researches  in  this  find  cover 
a  period  of  six  years,  from  1856  to  1862,  and  is  one  of  the  most 
remarkable,  for  here  were  brought  to  light  objects  unknown  in 
other  similar  finds.  From  the  coins2  enumerated  below,  we 

1  Thorsbjerg  is  situated  south  of  Flens- 
borg,  in  Southern  Jutland.  Among  the 
objects  In un d  were  fragments  of  swords, 
all  double-edged,  the  hilts  of  all,  witli 
one  exception,  of  wood,  inlaid  with  bronze 
and  silver,  with  scabbards  of  wood  with 
metal  mountings  (on  the  metal  bottom - 
piece,  of  one  scabbard  is  a  very  clear 
runic  inscription)  ;  a  sword-belt  of  thick 
leather,  41|  inches  long  and  3J  inches 
wide;  buckles  for  sword-belts,  all  of 
bronze, with  broken  pieces  of  iron  buckles; 
bows  and  arrows  in  a  more  or  less  com- 
plete state,  the  most  perfect  bow  being 
about  60  inches  long,  but  both  ends  are 
somewhat  damaged,  and  the  original 
length  scenes  to  have  been  a  couple  of 
indies  more;  a  great  number  of  arrow- 
shafts,  all  of  similar  shape,  between 
.!.">  inches  long  and  |  inch  thick,  but 
the  arrow-points  are  all  destroyed,  the 
iron  having  rusted;  remnants  of  shields 
llat  and  circular,  composed  of  several 
smoothly-planed  and  pretty  thin  wooden 
boards,  which  are  not  equally  broad  all 
over,  but  become  narrower  towards  the 
border: — the  largest  cross-measure  is 
4'_'i  inches,  the  smallest  21  inches,  the 
thickness  of  the  middle  boards,  which  as 
arulc  are  somewhat  heavier  than  the  rest, 
is  about  £  to  J  inch  (the  shield-buckles 
are  of  bronze,  but  broken  pieces  of  iron 
ones  have  been  found  also;  their  cross- 
measure  is  between  6-7  inches)  ;  axes, 

whose  blades  are  much  decomposed  bv 
ru-.t,  with  thirty  good  handles  of  ash 
and  beechwood,  which  measured  between 
23  aud  33J  inches  in  length  ;  a  few  well- 
preserved  spear-points,  and  others  more 
or  less  destroyed  by  rust ;  lour  spear- 
handlfs,  :!-J,  98£,  107£,  and  116  inches 
in  length  ;  several  riding  and  driving 
accoutrements;  more  thin  sixty  fibula; 
ot  many  different  stvles  ;  many  broken 
pieces  of  gold  rings,  only  two  of  which 
have  been  fitted  together  so  as  to  form 
one  complete  ring  ;  two  spiral  rings  of 
bronze;  a  roun  I  pendant  of  gold;  a 
hollow  ornament  of  silver-mixed  gold  ; 
a  mass  of  beads  ;  a  piece  .of  unworked 
amber  ;  pincers  ;  dice  of  amber  ;  a  variety 
of  utensils  and  tools  for  domestic  use, 
such  as  bowls  of  wood  and  clay,  spoons, 
jugs,  knives,  &c. ;  two  pairs  of  coarse 
woollen  trousers,  &c.  ;  and  several  ob- 
jects, the  use  of  which  is  unknown. 

2  Thirty-seven  Roman  coins  were  found 
altogether.      The   earliest  is  of  the  year 
6u  A.I).  ;   the  latest,  194  A.D.— 1  of  Aero, 
1  of  I  'it i  ///us,  4  of  Vespasianus,  1  of  Domi- , 
tianus,   7  of    Trujaii'is,   6   of  Hadrianus; 

1  of  Aclins,  6  of  Antoninus  Pius,   1    of 
Faustina  the  elder,  3  of  Marcus  Aurellus, 

2  of  Faustina    the   ywtuger,  3   of  Com- 
moduF,  and   1   of  S'pti/Mus   Sevcrus,  the 
last-named  being  struck  in  the  year  194 
of  our  era. 

THORSBJER G  FIXD—CL Will \< ', . 


must  come  to  the  conclusion  that  many  of  the  objects  found 
In-long  to  the  second  century  of  our  era.  Among  tin-  most 
remarkable  antiquities  of  warfare  are  the  superb  coats  of  mail 
found  in  the  North,  and  the  skill  displayed  in  making  war 
accoutrements  at  such  an  early  period  shows  an  advanced 
state  of  civilisation.  These  coats  of  mail  (which  are  also 
found  in  graves)  are  a  network  of  rings  each  of  which  is  run 
through  four  others.  In  their  workmanship  they  vary  :— 
in  some  the  rings  are  clinched  ;  in  others  only  every  other 
ring  is  riveted,  the  alternate  ones  being  welded  together, 
so  that  each  clinched  ring  grasps  four  welded  ones,  and  each 
welded  ring  grasps  four  riveted. 


Fig.  351. — Trousers  of  woven 
woollen  cloth.1  Length  45 
inches.  Width  round  waist  o8| 
incht-s.  On  the  waistband  were 
several  small  loops  which  pro- 
bably held  the  waistbelt.  The 
socks  which  are  sewn  to  the 
trousers  are  of  the  same  pattern 
as  that  of  the  sleeves  of  the 
shirt,  but  the  squares  are 
smaller.  T'g  real  size. 

Fig.  353. 

Fig.  354. 
Fragments  of  woollen  cloak^  with  border. 

1  On  a  superb  silver  vase  at  the  Her- 
mitage,, St.  Petersburg,  found   in  South- 

ern Russia,  is  a  representation  of  a  man 
wearing  similar  trousers. 


Fig.  356. — Woven  border  at  bottom  of 
the  shirt. 

*.r~    V  -  J   '    •'   ^     'E:*'*f"S'lf^ 

ig.  355.— Woollen  shirt  or  blouse  33£ 
inches  long,  20  inches  wide,  with  wrist- 
bauds  of  a  stronger  cloth  and  a  lighter 
colour  than  the  shirt,  which  is  brownish 
red.  Both  sleeves  are  of  a  stronger 
cloth  than  that  of  the  bo  ly  of  the 
shirt.  ^5  real  size. 


Fig.  357. — Pattern  of  the  body  of 
the  shirt. 

Fig.  358. — Horse  head-gear  of  leather 
The  heads  of  the  bronze  rivets  resem- 
bling rosettes  are  covered  with  or- 

namented silver  plates  :  the  bridle  and 
other  mountings  are  of  bronze. 




Fig.  359. — Flat  round  wooden  shield,  made  of  planed 
boards  of  different  widths. 

Fig.  360.— Wooden  sword- 
hilt  with  bronze  nails, 
the  middle  surrounded 
with  braided  bronze 

Fig.  362. — A  pen- 
dant  of  gold 
Real  size. 

Fig.  361. — Fibula  of    Fig.  363.— Amber  die,  Fig.  364. — Remains  of  leather  shoe, 
bronze     with     en-         rounded  so  as  not  to  \  real  size, 

graved  ornament.  stand  on  the  num- 

ber.    Real  size. 




Fig.  366. — Ornament  of 
bronze  for  scabbard.  Heads 
of  rivets  plated  with  silver. 
i  veal  sizo. 

Fig.  365. — Rake  of  wood  with  teeth, 
about  nine  inches  long. 

Fig.  367. — Rein,  made  of  three  pieces 
of  leather,  with  bronze  ring. 



Fig.  368. — Leather  sandal  in  one  piece,  for  left  foot.     ^  real  size.     Fastened 
over  the  foot  with  narrow  straps  and  buttons. 

Fig.  360. — Shoulder  clasp  of  bronze  for  ring  armour,  inlaid  with  gold  and  silver. 



Fig.  370. — Fragment  of  a  sandal  with 
.silver-plated  rivets. 

1  real  size. 

Fig.  371. — Ornament  of  bronze  for  wooden 
scabbard,  with  inscription  in  earlier  runes. 
Real  size. 

Fig.  372. — Bronze  ornamentation  for 
scabbard,  plated  with  silver  and  gold. 
£  real  size. 




;    " 

,/' TO;'1  'V    ''-;/*• 

i  i  ^^if 


•       • 

K'f  ? 

'!      1 


,  •.'•-.•  >}ivm 

•,     '/';  ^ 











.'       rtfti  '      -  fi  s 



1 1 



@v't ''®-3 


Fig.  373.  —  Scabbard  of  wood, 
with  bronze  mounting. 

Fig.  374.  —  Embossed 
mounting  of  a  scabbard 
strap,  silver-plated,  the 
wholo  centre  inlaid  with 
a  thin  gold  plate. 

Fig.  375.— A  bridle  of 
bronze,  the  end-piece 
plated  with  silver  and 
gold.  ^  real  size. 

•.!•••--;>     , 

•    J"    t'M^jfi    .      • 

;li  • 

Fig.  376. — Silver-plated 

bronze  buckle. 



Fig.  377. — Bronze  mounting 
on  horses'  head-gear,  appa- 
rently plated. 

Fig.  378. — Shield  boss  with  silver  top. 

Fig.  379. — Mountings  to  leather  straps  with 
svastica  and  gilt  knobs. 

Fig.  380. — Bronze  and  silver-plated  mounting 
for  leather  used  on  horses'  head-gear. 



Vimose  Bog  Find. — The  explorations  in  the  Yimose  bog,1 
situated  about  five  miles  from  Odense,  Fyen,  commenced  in 
1848,  and  since  that  time  3,000  objects  have  been  gathered 
together,  all  of  which  were  found  in  a  space  of  9,000  square  feet. 
Sometimes  there  seemed  to  be  a  certain  order  in  the  way  in 
which  the  articles  had  been  sunk,  for  all  the  ring  armour  was 
together,  and  a  number  of  small  articles  had  been  placed 
inside  a  shield-boss,  while  other  articles  were  surrounded  with 
broad  bands  of  cloth.  Many  of  the  objects  here  were  also 
badly  damaged.  Only  one  coin  has  been  found,  i.e.  a  silver 
denarius  of  the  time  of  the  Empress  Faustina  Junior  (d.  175), 

Fig.  381. 

Fig.  382.  Fig.  383. 

Iron  axe-heads,     i  real  size. 

Fig.  384. 

with  "  Pudicitia  "  on  its  reverse.     The  number  of  single  and 
double-edged   swords,  many  of  which   are  in  tolerably  good 

1  The  principal  objects  in  this  find 
included  a  very  great  number  of  arrow 
shafts  (most  of  them  thoroughly  decayed), 
with  arrow-points  of  bone  or  iron';  a 
remnant  of  a  quiver  of  wood  about 
25  inches  long  ;  a  mass  of  wooden  scab- 
bards, mostly  for  edged  swords:  :i'.'i> 
pieces  of  metal  and  bone  mountings  for 
the  scabbards,  some  of  silver,  and  one  of 
bronze  covered  with  silver  and  thin  gold 
plates,  with  runes  lightly  traced  ;  shield- 
boards,  handles  and  buckles  (180  of  the 
latter  of  iron) ;  about  150  knives,  all  of 
iron  and  different  shapes ;  several  rem- 

nants of  belts,  as  well  as  about  40  buttons 
of  bronze,  some  covered  with  gold,  and 
about  '»U  double  buttons  of  bronze  ;  about 
250  different  pieces  of  buckles  and  other 
mountings  of  iron  and  bronze  ;  about  15i> 
different  pieces  of  riding  harness;  a  few 
horses'  bones ;  bronze  bowls,  needle*, 
keys;  scissors;  scythe-blades;  1  millstone: 
1  small  anvil;  6  hammers;  25  iron 
chisels:  3  iron  files;  2  iron  pincers:  57 
bone  combs,  some  with  svaxtiua,  and  one 
with  runes  on  ;  4  square,  '_'  oblong  dire  : 
amber,  glass,  and  mosaic  beads;  fibula 
of  bronze,  iron,  silver,  &c.,  &c. 


preservation,  is  67.      The  single-edged  swords,  between  15| 


Fig.  385. — One  of  four  bronze  buckles,  enamelled 
in  red,  green,  and  blue,  the    inside    borders    of 

black  mosaic  enamel.     §  real  size. 


liJrV-'    ift"         Ml  •-  i \f 


«Y  lj» 

•  Jt-'i 

Fig.      386.  —  Fig.  387.— 

Sax,  or  single-  Damascened  Fig.    388. — Bent   sax,  or     Fig     389. — Single- 

rd^f't  sword.  sax.     £  real  single-edged  sword.  5          edged  sax  or  iron 

\  real  size.  size.  real  size.  sword.  5  real  size. 


and  24  inches    long,  are    simply  \velded,   sometimes   Laving 



ornaments  traced  on  the  blade,  and  several  of  these  were  still 

in  thoir  wooden  scal.k-mls  when 
found.  The  double-edged  swords 
vary  in  size  from  about  19  or  i'<) 
indies,  to  35  or  36  inches.  On 
several  are  factory  stamps — a  star- 
shaped  sign  on  one  side  of  the 
blade  near  the  tongue  or  hilt  point, 
and  a  ring-shaped  figure  on  the 
sides  of  the  hilt  points,  a  mark 
which  looks  rather  like  a  scorpion ; 
in  one  stamp  are  Latin  letters, 
which  are  somewhat  difficult  to 
decipher.  Many  are  welded  or 
forged  from  two  united  blades,  while 
others  are  made  of  a  single  blade 
and  have  no  factory  mark.  Four- 
teen are  damascened  in 

In  this  remarkable  find  sevn-.-il 
enamelled  objects  have  been  dis- 
covered. This  art  appears  to  have 
been  unknown  to  the  nations  of 
classical  antiquity.  There  is  no 
word  for  it  in  Greek  or  Latin. 
Philostratus,1  when  describing  a 
wild  boar  hunt,  mentions  the  beauty 


1  This  Greek  writer,  who  lived  at  the  beginning 
of  the  3rd  century,  was  called  to  the  Roman 
Court  by  Faustina,  wife  of  Septimius  Severn*, 
whose  numerous  coins  are  found,  and  if  thi>  art 
was  known  by  the  Romans  he  would  certainly 
have  described  it. 

"Around  this  youth  is  a  group  of  young  men 
of  fine  appearance,  and  engaged  in  fine  jiur.-uits, 
as  beseems  men  of  noble  birth.  One  of  th>'m 
seems  to  bear  on  his  countenance  traces  of  the 
palaestra,  another  gives  evidence  of  gentleness, 
a  third  of  geniality :  here  is  one  who  you  would 
say  had  just  looked  up  from  his  book  ;  and  of  the 
Fig.  390.  Fig.  391.  horses  on  which  they  ride  no  two  are  alike,  on.- 

Sax,  or  single-edged  swords,  one  in  js  white,  another  chestnut,  another  black,  another 
wooden  scabbard,     i  real  size.       bay,  and    they    have    silver   bridles,   and    their 

trappings  are  adorned  with  golden  and  decor'it'-<l 
bosses  ((J)d\apa).     And  it  is  said  that  the  barbarians  by  the  oceaa  pour  these  colour-. 

VOL.  I.  P 



and  fine  colour  of  the  harness  of  the  horses,  and,  when  stating 
how  these  colours  were  produced,  mentions  that  they  were 
made  by  the  barbarians  living  on  the  shores  of  the  ocean. 

Fig.  392. — Griffon's  head,  ornament  belonging  to  helmet  of  bronze.     Real  size. 

This  description  may  very  well  refer  to  the  people  of  the 
North,  the  great  splendour  of  whose  riding  gear  and  chariots 

we  see  from  the  finds  and  sagas. 

on  red-hot  copper,  ami  that  the  designs  become  hard,  like  stone,  and  are  durable." — 
Philostratus,  Imagines.     Chapter  on  Boar-hunting. 



Fig.  393. — Fragments  of  ring-armour  of  hammered 
iron.    Real  size. 

lO- :  ti>  ^.ySjHs^J^ki-  --rritefea 

&'->V    V-,-^-^^-1  ;-^K^ 

Fig.  394. — Bronze  mounting,  plated  with  gold 
silver,  and  belonging  to  ring-armour.  Real 

Fig.  395. — Remains  of  ring-armour  of  iron, 
with  traces  of  gold  plating,     i  real  size. 

p  : 



Fig.  396.  Fig.  397.  Fig.  398. 

Spurs,  one  of  bronze,  with  iron  point;  the  others  of  iron. 

Fig.  399. — Wheel.     Jr,  real  size. 

Fig.  400. — Man's  head  on  a  piece  of  bronze  Fig.  401. —  Ferrule  of  silver  for 

covered  with  a  thin  gold  plate.    Real  size.  hilt  plated  with  gold.     Real  size 

Fig.  402. --Parts  of  a  wooden  plane.     3  real  size. 



Fig.  403. — Shoulder-strap  of  leather, 
with  bronze  button  and  design  of 
dolphin.  About  |  real  size. 

Fig.     404.  —  Silver     ornament 
plated  with  gold.     Real  size. 

Fig.   405. — Fragment   of  wooden 
shield  with  gilt-headed  nails. 

Fig.  406.— Silver-plated 
bronze  ornament. 



Over  1,000  spears  were  found ;  the  handles  of  most  of 
them  were  broken  off,  but  five  have  been  preserved  com- 
plete; these  are  8  feet  7§  inches  long,  9  feet  2  inches  long 


Fig.     407.— Sil- 
ver mounting 
to      scahbard. 
real  size. 

Fig.  408.  —  Silver 
mounting  for  scab- 
bard. J  real  size. 

Fig.  409.— One   of   1,000  Fig.    41  0.— 

spears,  inlaid  with  con-  One  of  1,000 

centric  circles.     ^  real  spears.  J  real 

size.  size. 

9  feet  long,  1 1  feet  long,  and  6^  feet  long.  The  handles  are 
made  of  ash,  and  some  spears  are  ornamented  with  threads  of 
gold,  silver  or  bronze  inlaid  in  concentric  circles  ;  sometimes 



ornaments  are  traced  up  the  middle  of  the  blade,  and  originally 
these  also  were  filled  with  some  kind  of  metal. 

Fig.  411. — Crocodile's  head  carved  in  wood.     Real  size 

Fig.  412. — Brynja,  or  coat  of  mail,  3  feet  long. 



Fig.  413. — Bone  comb  with  svastica.     J  veal  size. 

Fig.  414. — Fragments  of  checker-board,     l  real  size. 

Fig.  415. — Bronze  enamelled  bowl  (1867),  2f  in.  hign,  4|  in.  wide,  in  bog  at 
Maltbcek,  Jutland.     The  enamel  in  the  serpentine  line  is  red. 

Krag?lnil  Find. — In  a  small  bog  called  Kragebul,  situated 
near  the  city  of  Assens  on  Fyen,  objects  have  been  found 
which  seem  to  belong  to  the  4th  or  5ih  century.  The  first 
mention  of  the  Kragehul  bog  is  in  1751,  when  some  articles 



with  rune  inscriptions  were  found,  which,  unfortunately,  have 
been  lost,  but  it  was  not  until  1864  that  a  regular  exploration 
took  place.1 

Fig.  416. — Bundle  of  bent  weapons. 

Fig.  417. — Bronze  vessel  destroyed  by  sword  cuts.     |  real  size. 

'  The  articles  found  include  glass, 
mosaic,  and  porcelain  beads  ;  fragments 
of  four  bone  combs  ;  four  tweezers  of 
bronze,  of  which  two  hang  on  bronze 
rings  ;  remains  of  wooden  shields  with 
metal  mountings;  bronze  mountings; 
10  iron  swords,  damascened  in  several 
patterns,  the  length  of  the  blades  being 
from  31  to  35  incites,  their  width  If 
to  2  inches  ;  and  fragments  of  several 

others;  fragments  of  wooden  scabbards, 
of  which  one  has  remains  of  leather  on 
it  ;  several  metal  mountings  for  scab- 
bards ;  a  buckle  of  bronze  ;  about  80 
points  of  iion  spears,  all  of  different 
shapes ;  30  spear-haudles.  ornamented 
with  engraved  lines,  some  straight,  and 
others  with  snake  Hues  ;  remains  of  a 
wooden  bow,  length  47|  inches,  and 
fragments  of  another ;  arrows;  tour 









«  -5 


-*         g 











hx"  > 


x  %  «•" " 








I/   I 








J5    ^ 







The  antiquities,  none  of  which  are  of  Koman  origin, 
seem  to  have  been  thrown  in  without  any  order,  but  spears 
with  thin  iron  points  on  the  end  formed  the  boundary  of 
the  find. 

In  this  as  in  the  other  bog  finds,  weapons  are  twisted 
together  in  extraordinary  knots  and  many  objects  destroyed. 

The  Nijdam  Bog  Find. — The  remarkable  bog  find  at  Nydam  l 
is  extremely  valuable  on  account  of  the  boat,  and  the  discovery 
of  Roman  coins  enables  us  to  approximate  the  date  of  the 
objects,2  which  is  probably  about  the  years  250  and  300  of 
our  era. 

The  Nydam  oak  boat  was  discovered  in  1863  near 
Slesvig,  in  Southern  Jutland.  Its  length  is  about  75  feet ; 
its  widest  part,  about  10^  feet.  It  held  14  benches,  and  was 
rowed  with  28  oars,  the  average  length  of  which  was  12  feet. 
By  its  side  was  the  rudder,  about  10  feet  long. 

The  bottom  plank,  which  is  not  a  keel  proper,  is  45  feet 
3  inches  long,  and  of  a  single  piece.  The  oar-tholes  are 
fastened  to  the  gunwales  with  bast  ropes,  and,  though  they 
have  all  one  general  shape,  there  are  no  two  alike. 

The  boat  is  clinch-built ;  that  is,  the  planks  are  held  together 
by  large  iron  bolts  with  round  heads  outside,  and  clinch  plates 

whole  iron  knives,  between  7  and  10 
inches  long,  and  several  handles  and 
fragments  ;  four  oval-shaped  whetstones 
and  fragments  of  a  square  one;  five 
small  balance-weights;  fragments  of  a 
heavy  wooden  post  and  of  a  small  twig; 
some  mountings  of  silver  which  probably 
belonged  to  riding  harness  ;  bones  of  three 
animals ;  &c.,  &c. 

1  Among  the  objects  found  in  the  bog 
were  106  iron  swords,  all  double-edged. 
with  handles  of  wood  sometimes  covered 
with  silver,  or  of  bone  or  massive  bronze  ; 
93  damascened  in  different  patterns,  two 
wrought  from  two  different  pieces,  and 
only  eleven  simply  wrought.  On  several 
there  are  Latin  inscriptions,  and  on  one 
blade  runes  inlaid  in  gold.  The  condi- 
tion in  which  the  swords  were  when 
buried  is  peculiar.  Generally  they  were 
without  hilts  and  bent,  on  many  were 
found  de<M>  cuts  on  both  edges,  one  hav- 
ing 23  cuts  on  one,  and  11  cuts  on  the 
other  edge.  Wooden  scabbards,  with 

mountings  of  bronze;  mountings  to 
sword-belts  ;  buckles  of  iron  and  bronze  ; 
rings  with  loose  end-mountings  ;  70  iron 
shield  buckles  ;  iron  axes ;  iron  bridles, 
three  ot  \v  hich  were  still  in  the  mouths 
of  (skeleton)  horses;  552  iron  spear- 
points,  several  ornamented  with  gold  ; 
several  hundred  spear-handles  ;  numerous 
househo'd  utensils  of  wood  ;  several 
hundred  arrow-shafts  with  traces  of 
marks  of  ownership  on  them,  and  some 
with  runes,  &c 

2  Thirty-four  Roman  coins,  struck  be- 
tween the  years  69  and  217  A.D.,  are 
so-called  denarii  of  silver,  and  date  from 
the  time  of  Vifrtlius  (1),  Hadrian  (1), 
Antoninus  Pius  (10),  two  of  which  have 
the  mark  of  DIVVS ;  Faustina  the  elder 
(  4),  Marcus  Aurelhis  (7)  (partly  as  Casar, 
between  the  years  140-143,  and  partly 
as  Imperator),  Fit>i*tin<i  the.  i/oitnt/er  (1), 
Lucius  1  •<•">'  (2),  Lucilla  (2),  Cuinuta/ii* 
(5),  and  Macriii'is  (1).  the  latter  a  very 
rare  coin,  struck  in  217  A.n. 



the  inside,  at  a  distance  of  5£  inches  from  each  other.    The 


space  between  the  planks  is  filled  with  woollen  stuff  and  a 
pitchy  sticky  mass.     The  boards  are  joined  in  a  very  common 



manner  to  the  frame  with  bast  ropes.  In  the  frame  are 
holes,  which  correspond  to  elevated  pieces  on  the  boards 
which  are  also  bored  through ;  these  pieces  had  not  been  nailed 
to  the  planks,  but  were  hewn  out  of  the  latter,  which  thereby 

Fig.  423. — Oar-thole  of  red  pine.     ^  real  size. 

Fig.  424. — Oar-thole  of  the  Nydam  Boat.     \  real  size. 

Fig.  425. — Inside  view  of  one  of  the  stems  of  the  Nydam  boat. 

had  lost  more  than  half  their  thickness.  Vessels  by  this 
peculiar  manner  of  joining  frame  and  boards  acquired  great 
elasticity,  which  must  have  been  of  good  service  in  the  surf 
and  in  a  heavy  sea. 

The  boat  was  shaped  alike  both  fore  and  aft,  so  that  it  could 



Fig.  426. —  Rib  of  boat,  showing  seat  attached 


Fig.  427. — Wooden  pegs  fastening  stem  to  bottom  plank.     T'7  real  size. 

Fig.  428. — Showing  how  the  boards  joined  the  ribs. 

Fig.  429. — End  face  view  of  oar-thole.     T'a  real  size.      Fig.  430. — Rudder,  10  feet 

long,      found      alongside 
Nydam  boat. 


be  rowed  in  either  direction  ;  and  in  both  stems,  which  un- 
fastened to  the  bottom  plank,  are  two  holes  through  which, 
judging-  from  the  manner  in  which  they  are  worn,  ropes 
were  probably  drawn,  by  which  to  drag  the  boat  ashore  at  the 
beginning  of  winter.  In  the  bottom  there  is  a  hole,  which 
probably  after  the  ship  had  been  drawn  up  served  to  ffive 
outlet  to  the  water  collected  in  the  boat. 

The  boat  had  undoubtedly  been  intentionally  sunk,  for  in 
the  planks  under  the  water-line  had  been  cut  large  holes  to 
let  in  the  water.  Rust  had  destroyed  the  ends  of  the  iron 
bolts  which  had  held  the  planks  together,  and  also  the 
ropes  with  which  the  boards  and  the  frame  had  been  held 
together.  The  planks  fell  apart,  therefore,  and  took  their 
original  straight  shape  ;  the  oar-tholes  were  loosened  from  the 

Fig.  431. — Wooden  scoop  for  baling  water.     ^  real  size. 

gunwale  ;  the  frame  fell  on  different  sides,  and  the  two  high 
stems  fell  down.  As  the  joints  loosened,  the  separate  pieces 
sank  to  the  bottom,  and  remained  lying  at  about  an  equal 
depth,  while  the  turf  grew  up  above  them  and  preserved  them 
from  destruction.  After  all  the  parts  of  the  boat  had  been 
carefully  collected  and  dried,  it  was  possible  to  restore  it  to  its 
original  shape. 

Another  boat  of  red  pine  wood  was  discovered  alongside  it. 
This  one  was  laid  on  the  field  and  covered  with  bog  mould,  until 
the  work  connected  with  the  other  boat  was  finished.  Unfortu- 
nately the  war  of  1864  put  an  end  to  the  examination  of  the 
Nydani  bog,  so  that  the  boat  was  left  lying  on  the  field,  and 
strangers  have  carried  off  many  pieces  of  it.  The  bottom  plank 
was  about  50  feet  long,  18  inches  broad,  and  ends  in  two  spurs 



or  rams.  How  high  the  prows  were  raised  above  the  plank 
raniint  be  stated.  Since  this  date  the  diggings  have  been 
done  by  inexperienced  men,  and  consequently  have  given 
but  little  results.  This  sacred  part  of  the  laud  of  the  Danes 
had  passed  into  the  hands  of  its  German  conquerors,  for  the 
Nornir 1  are  fickle,  and  what  is  fated  to  one  generation  to 
is  often,  in  the  course  of  time,  undone  by  another. 

Fig.  432. — The  end  of  the  bottom  plank  of  a  vessel  of 
red  pine,  with  a  ram  at  each  end,  from  Nydam 
Bog-find.  The  pointed  lines  show  how  the  spurs 
protruded  from  the  stem. 

Fig.  433.  Fig.  434. 

Fragments  wooden  scabbard  with  bronze  mountings.     \  real  size. 


1  See  p.  385. 















U   '      l< 








VOL.  I. 



BOG  FIMi*. 





















Fig.  442.— Black- 
glass  bead.  Real 


Fig.  443.  —  Light-green 
glass  bead,  with  yellow 
points  on  a  dark  -  red 
ground.  Real  size. 

Fig.  445. — £  real  size. 

Fig.  444. — Green  glass  bead  with 
red  stripes.     Real  size. 


Fig.  446. — \  real  size. 


Fig.  447.— Silver  Fig.  448.— 
tweezers.  Real  Silver  ear 
size.  spoon. 

3  real  size 

Fig.  449. —  Iron, 
knife          with 
wooden  handle. 
\  real  size. 

Fig.  450. — Double-barrelled 
tube  of  silver  found  with 
ear  pick.  Real  size. 

Q    2 



Fig.  453.— 
Part   of  a 
bow.  J  real 

Fig.   454.— 
Part  of  ar- 
runic  stave. 
Real  size. 

Fig.  451.  Fig.  452. 

Wooden  bows,  with  notches  at  the 
end   for    fastening    the    string. 


Fig.  456.— Ar- 
row-shaft with 
owner's  mark. 
Real  size. 

Fig.  457. — Ar- 
row-point of 
iron,  3  real 


Fig.  455. — Arrow-shaft, 
i  real  size. 

T'T  real  size. 


NYDAM  FL\1>. 


Fig.  458.  Fig.  459.  Fig.  460. 

Bronze  mountings  for  a  quiver.     |  real  size. 

Fig.  461.— i  real  Fig.  462.— J  real  size. 






Fragments  of  wooden  scabbards  with  bronze  mountings. 

Fig.  463.— Wooden 
quiver.  J  real 


Fig.  464. — Bearded  spear-head,  lient 
and  twisted.        real  size. 

Fig.  465.  Fig.  466.       Fig.  467.— Iron  Fig.  468.     Fig.  469.  Fig.  470.— Leaf 

Bearded  spear-points  of  iron.       spear  -  point,       iron  spear-points.       shaped     iron 
^  real  size.  bayonet  shaped.        Jj  real  size.  spear-point. 

J  real  size.  real  size. 



Fig.  471. — Iron  sword,  damascened,  bearing 
Latin  inscription.    |  real  size. 

Fig.  472. — Iron  sword  bearing  Latin 
inscription.     §  real  size. 

Fig.  473.  —  Iron 
sword  bearing 
Latin  inscription. 

Fig.  474.  —  Part  of 
sword  blade  with  runes 
inlaid  with  gold. 

Fig.  475. 

Fig.  478. 

Damascened  blades.        real  size. 



Fig.  477. — Wocden  bowl,     i  real  size. 

iir.  479. 

Fig.  478. 
Iron  ferrules  to  scabbard,  inlaid  with  flat  hammered  gold  wire.     |  real  size. 

Fig.  480. — Wooden  trough      J  real  size. 

«/•  t 


Fig.  481. 

Fig.  482. 
Ornaments  of  bronze  plated  with  thin  silver  and  gold.     Real  size. 

Fig.  483. — Bit  of  bronze.     \  real  size. 

Fig.  484. — Bit  of  iron.     \  real  size. 

Fig.  485. — Double-edged  dama- 
scened sword  with  silver  handle. 
J  real  size. 

Fig.  486. — Double-edged  dama 
scened  sword.     1  real  size. 



Fig.  487. — Spiral  bracelet  of  gold  with 
triangular  ornaments,  3  real  size,found 
in  a  bog  near  Horsens,  Denmark. 

Fig.  488.  Fig.  489. 

Damascened  iron  sword,  J  real  size,  of  the  later 
iron  age,  with  mounting  for  scabbard,  made  of 
silver,  in  relief  work  and  gilt.  Found  in  a  bog 
near  Slagelse  on  Zealand,  Denmark. 

Fig.  490. — Iron  sword, 
with  bronze  handle, 
Jl  real  size,  found  in  a 
bog  at  Fremlose,  not 
far  from  the  town  of 
Odense,  on  Fy  en,  with 
fragments  of  two 
other  iron  swords, 
&c.  Earlier  iron  age. 



The  custom  of  hiding  objects — Discovery  of  numerous  golden  objects  near 
the  surface — Necklaces  of  gold — Golden  horns  discovered  at  Mogletonder 
— The  Bangstrup  find. 

THE  objects  found  in  the  earth,  and  classified  under  the  name 
of  ground  finds,  are  often  not  only  very  valuable  but  also  very 
beautiful ;  in  many  instances  they  are  of  the  same  type  and 
period  as  those  of  the  bogs  and  graves.  The  custom  of  inten- 
tionally hiding  objects  which  existed  in  the  stone  and  bronze 
age  lasted  until  the  end  of  the  Viking  age.  and  one  of  the 
finest  archaeological  fields  in  the  whole  of  Scandinavia  is  that 
of  Broholm,  situated  on  the  island  of  Fyen.  These  finds  are 
divided  into  three  principal  groups,  viz.  : — Lundeborg,  Gaidme, 
and  Elsehoved.  Almost  all  the  objects  were  so  near  the 
surface  of  the  soil  that  they  were  discovered  either  when 
ploughing,  or  digging  with  a  spade. 

Fig.  491. — Denarius  ;  Trajan  (98-117).     Broholm.     Real  size. 

Fig.  492. — Fibula  of  bronze.     Broholm.     Real  size. 


Fig.  493. — Solidus  :  temp.  Constantine  II. 
(337-61),  found  near  Hesselagergaard, 
Broholm,  1875.  Real  size. 

Fig.  494. — Largest  Neck-ring,  Broholm.  Heaviest  rings,  weight  3  Ibs.,  1  Ib.  14i  «z., 
1  Ib.  2|  oz. ;  |  real  size.  Among  other  objects  discovered  with  this  neck-ring 
were  three  other  neck-rings,  one  weighing  about  '2  Ibs.  2  ozs.,  another  !£  Ib. ; 
six  pieces  of  massive  gold  belonging  to  neck-rings ;  six  spiral  gold  rings ; 
a  spiral  finger-ring  of  gold ;  bent  gold  bars  probably  used  as  money ;  and 

Fig.  495.— Roll  of  flat 
gold  band. 

Fig.  496.— Gold  bead. 
Real  size.     Broholm. 

Fig.  497.— Gold 



Fig.  498. — Solidus:  temp.  Constantine  II.     Broholm. 
Real  size. 

Fig.  499. — Gold  Neck-ring,  from  Hesselagergaard,  Broholm.     f  real  size. 

Fig.  500.— Fibula  of  gold.     Broholm.     Heal  size. 

Reverse  of  Fig.  500. 



if.  501. — Hollow  gold  object,  ornamented  with  cornelians,  found  at 
Lundeberg,  Broholm.     Real  size. 

Reverse  of  Fig.  502. 
Fig.  502. — Gold  Mounting  for  sword  scabbard.   Real  size.     Broholm. 



'  .  •  If?  «K*-     Zffi^a-^T^kSiss^i  ^ 

Fig.  503. 

Fisr  504. 

Gold  bracteatos.     Real  size. 

Fig.  505. — Mosaic  bead. 
Real  size. 

Fig.  506. — Gold  bracteate,  showing 
fibula  on  the  neck.     Real  size. 

Fig.  507. — Gold  ring  used  as  money.     Real  size. 



Fig.  508. —  Gold  spiral  ring.     Elsehoved, 
Broholm.    Keal  size. 


-S     o  <; 

^5          Kn 


.    C 

0)     « 

(s$  •*".  =  . 

5  s 




Fig.  509. — Fibula  of  copper  covered  with  gold, 
and  ornamented  witli  garnets,  one  of  which 
remains  intact;  a  bird  will  be  seen  at  the 
bottom,  i  real  size. 



Fig.  511. —    Gold  rings  used  ns  money.     Real  size. 

Among  the  finest  and  most 
valuable  objects  found  in  the 
North  were  the  two  superb 
golden  horns  discovered  at  Mo- 
geltdiider  on  the  peninsula  of 
Jutland,  which  were  once  the 
pride  of  the  great  Museum  of 
Northern  Antiquities  in  Copen- 

They  were  without  equals  in  Fi§-  512--Ring  of  S^.  Real  size. 
any  part  of  the  world ;  their  exterior  was  made  of  different 
bands  of  gold,  with  figures  in  repousse  work,  fastened  to  the 
harder  gold  of  the  body  of  the  horn.  Both  were  stolen  from 
the  old  Danish  Museum  on  the  4th  of  May,  1802,  and  the 
ignorant  thief  melted  them  ;  thus  those  two  superb  specimens 
were  for  ever  lost  to  science,  and  with  an  unfortunate  fatality 
the  cast  of  each  has  also  been  lost ;  but  luckily  the  drawings 
made  can  be  relied  on.  The  thief  was  captured  a  year  after, 
and  his  punishment  was  not  adequate  to  the  crime  he  had 

The  representations  given  upon  them  must  have  had  a 
meaning ;  these  were  symbolical,  and  were  probably  very 
significant  and  not  used  for  mere  ornamentation  ;  what 
the  figures  and  symbolical  signs  meant  is  impossible  for  us 
to  tell 

VOL.  I. 

Among  the  most  remarkable  of   the  former   is   the 
•  R 



i  real 

i  real  size. 



(  1 

.'-  ]'• '  • 


i'  r'-i-j  i  i i;  ii  riiiifif  Hii ii  riinummu-unun  i  i i i n ii i i J i M I u r i H H n i i i j if i n ! i i ! i M i rn i i i f i i i H i r •    " 

•  ;  •  • '  •  •  i ;  ;  »  '•  ''  \  ; ; ".  ?  1 1 ; ;  1 ; :  ! ;  J ; ; ,  n  t  » ; ;  e  e  *, ;  t  ;  t  :  7 ;;.:;;  : ;  i ;;;:;;:; :, ; 

"7*.-     , '  ,  "    ^ 

1   ••'''.. 

•"' <;"""> -x 

$£•    W"  > 

*7\  *          V;v;-r- 

'  fM^toMWWiW^W^i+W^^^^^^^/WWti^M^A  ' 

1  '  '  I  k  I  I  '  »  A <  I  1  1 II  t I »  U  i U  M  »  U  1  t  i  1 .  i I  I J  1  U  I  U  11  1  i  I  1 1  i  1 J  i 1 1  1  U  t  I  1 1  t  I  I  I  I  I  I  '  i  I J  J  »  I J  U  *  i »  .  1 

tff^'rvTfflTOTyjpjmnnnnrirf  tnint  i(  n  m  n  nn  n  n  "  <  r;  r.-  rr  n  nnn  mn  ttimn 

iMiriiiii  i  ilTTTTTnTi  i  I'M  n  m  J  in'f  iiTTifrfii  i77  i  7TI  f  1  1  ?  >  ?  ?T  f"  M  7  i  »  M  J  TTtTuTTTT 


Fig.  51G. — Facsimile  of  each  ring  of  the  damaged  horn  (Fig.  514). 

R    2 



eg,  ^;;      .    2$  •- 


J    V  •";..;. 

Fig.  517.— Facsimile  of  the  rings  of  the  perfect  horn  (Fig.  513). 



three-headed  man,  holding1  in  one  hand  what  appears  to  br 
an  axe,  while  with  the  other  he  leads  some  kind  of  horned 

Bangrstrup  Find  (Fyeii).— Conspicuous  among  many  remark- 
aide  finds  is  the  Bangstrup  find  (Fyen,  1865),  in  which  rings  of 
gold  used  as  money,  ornaments  of  peculiar  shape,  and  4(3  gold 
Roman  coins,  which  were  pierced  or  had  a  loop  attached  to 
the  top,  were  discovered.  The  coins,  ranging  from  the  time 
of  Trajanus  Decius  (249-251)  to  that  of  Constantine  II. 
(337-351),  give  an  approximate  idea  of  the  time  of  the 
deposit  of  the  find  ;  for,  while  most  of  the  earlier  coins  are  well 
worn,  the  later  ones  are  very  well  preserved  and  the  coinage  is 
very  sharp  and  clear,  thus  indicating  that  they  cannot  have 
been  long  in  circulation.  As  the  dates  of  these  later  coins  are 
about  340-350,  the  find  cannot  have  been  buried  much  later 
than  that  time. 

Fig.  518. 


Fig.  519. 


Fig.  520.— Gold  coin. 

Fig.  521. — Crescent-shaped 
pendant  of  gold. 

The  crescent-shaped  ornaments  have,  so  far  as  is  known, 
never  been  found  elsewhere  in  the  North;  but  in  the  Ukraine 
similar  ones  have  been  discovered,  and  are  described  in  the 
work  "  Account  of  the  Mounds,  &c.,  of  the  Government  of 
Kiew,"  bv  Privv  Councillor  J.  Foundouklei,  Kief,  IS  is. 

1  . 



Fig.  522. — Crescent-shaped  pendant 
of  gold. 

Fig.  523. — Crescent  of  gold  pendant- 
shaped  :  representing  two  lions  drink- 
ing out  of  a  cup. 

Fig.  524. — Leaf-shaped  pendant 
of  thin  sheet  gold. 

Fig.  525. —  Leaf-shaped  pendant. 
sheet  gold. 

Fi;;.  526. — Rectangular  pendant 
of  sheet  gold,  with  embossed 
human  figure. 


Fig.  527. — Semi-spherical  gold  ornamentation 
of  unknown  use. 




Sepulchral  chambers  containing  skeletons — The  objects  in  these  graves  not 
destroyed — Numerous  Roman  and  Greek  objects — The  Yalloby  grave— 
The  Bavenhoi  grave — The  Varpelev  graveyard. 

To  return  to  the  subject  of  graves,  we  will  now  speak  of  t he- 
sepulchral  chambers  containing  skeletons.  They  generally 
vary  in  size,  from  the  length  of  a  man  upwards,  being  about 
four  feet  wide  and  two  or  three  feet  high.  Sometimes  the 

Natural  level 
ol  the  earth.       ; 

Fig.  528. — Mound,  about  13  feet  above  the  ground,  showing  sepulchral  chamber 
five  fret  below  the  surface.  The  body  h;id  beeu  placed  upon  woollen  pillows 
filled  with  down.  Six  oak  logs  supported  the  side  planks  forming  the  sepulchral 
chamber,  which  had  an  oak  floor.  The  space  between  the  timbers  h;id  been  filled 
with  tresses  of  wool  and  other  hair  of  animals.  The  chamber  had  been  carefully 
covered  with  clay. —  Bjerring,  near  Viborg,  Northern  Jutland. 

corpse  had  been  laid  upon  woollen  stuff,  cattle-hair,  or  birch- 
bark,  the  head  turned  southwards,  and  the  feet  towards  the 
north.  The  inside  lining  is  often  of  planks,  between  ^x 



and  the  outer  stone  wall  bark  has  been  placed,  the  seams 
between  the  timber  being  filled  with  pitch.  Above  the  burial- 
ch; i m her,  which  was  sometimes  below  the  level  of  the  ground, 
a  mound  or  cairn  was  often  raised. 

The  objects  found  in  these  graves  have  not  been  destroyed, 
and  the  weapons,  which  are  few,  have  not  been  made  useless. 

In  the  graves  containing  skeletons  are  found  costly  silver 

,Y-vr"f, , :>  tj>*-*Lv*^1''' 

sSvSjREK  1^ 

Fig.  529. — Burial  Chamber,  Norrevingstrup,  near  Hjorring,  Jutland. 
Inside  measurement — height,  4  feet ;  length,  5J  feet ;  breadth,  3£  feet. 

and  glass  cups,  pottery,  wooden  pails  with  metal  mountings, 
drinking-horns  or  their  fragments ;  gold,  silver,  bronze,  or 
silver-gilt  jewelry;  great  masses  of  glass,  amber,  gold  and 
mosaic  beads ;  metal  mirrors  (these  are  scarce),  bone  combs, 
riding  and  driving  harness,  &c.  The  damaged  weapons  are 
often  richly  ornamented,  and  of  exquisite  workmanship. 

A   remarkable  fact  is  the  number  of  unmistakable  Roman 


and  Greek  objects,  and  sometimes  coins,  which  occur  in  the 
finds.  In  the  graves  of  women  the  objects  chiefly  found  are 
pins,  needles,  buttons,  jewels,  ornaments,  combs,  knives,  &c. 

Valloby  Grave. — The  antiquities  in  this  grave  plainly  show 
two  civilisations  :  the  Roman  or  Greek,  as  represented  by  the 

Fig.  530. — Valloby   Grave  ;  showing  the   natural   eminence,  with  arrangement   of 

stones,  cist,  and  mound. 

Fig.  531. — Horizontal  view  ;  showing  how  the  objects  were  placed. 
Coffin  proper,  9  feet  Jong,  2  feet  deep. 

Fig.  532. — Bird's-eye  view  of  grave,  seen  from  above. 
Length  of  outer  inclosure  between    11   and   12   feet;    height   about   2    feet;    width 

about  2J  feet. 

bronze  vessels;  and  the  Northern,  by  the  silver  cups  and  black 
clay  vessels,  &c.,  &c. 



The  o-rave  was  made  with  especial  care,  and  was  sunk  about 
six  feet  below  the  natural  surface  of  the  bank;  the  stone 
inclosure  was  built  of  rounded  stones,  of  the  size  of  a  man's 
fist,  placed  together  with  great  regularity.1 

Fig.  533- — Samian  Clay  Bowl.     Hunting  scenes  in  bas-relief.     Inscription 
("Cos.  L,  Viri — ")  partially  defaced,     f  real  size. 

FJO-.  534. — One  of  two  flat  bronze  bowls.     In  the  earth  above  were  two  small  silver 
knol>s,  one  covering  the  other,  the  use  of  which  is  unknown      I  real  size. 

F)g.  535. — Fluted  bowl  of  bronze,     i  real  size. 

1  In  the  coffin  itself,  on  the  right  side 
of  the  skeleton,  were  found,  among  other 
objects,  forty-six  checker  pieces  of  glass, 
sixteen  dark  red,  the  others  of  whitish 
colour,  f  to  H  inch;  three  finger-rings 
of  gold,  and  a  spiral  bracelet,  similar  tn 
the  one  from  Olan-l  (vol.  ii.,  p.  311); 
tivo  fibula?  of  silver,  one  gilt.  On  the 

left,  sixty  checker  pieces,  thirty-r<np  of 
which  were  black,  the  others  whitish  ; 
with  these  was  a  small  amethyst  stone 
with  rough,  unworked  surface.  At  the 
feet,  bronze  vessels,  one  placed  OL>  the 
other,  two  small  bosses  of  silver  of 
unknown  use. 



Fig.  536. — I  real  size. 

Fragments  of  bronze  kettle. 

Fig.  537. — I  real  size. 

Fig.  538. — Kettle  handle,     i  real  size. 

Fig.  539.— Side  view.     Fig.  540.— Front  view. 
Handle  of  kettle,     f  real  size. 

Fig.  541. — Bottom  of  bronze 
kettle.     1  real  size. 

Fig.  542. — Side  view  of  bottom 
of  kettle,     i  real  size. 

Bavenhdi  Grave  Find  — At  Bavenhoi,  in  Himlingoi,  Zeeland, 
is  a  large  bank  of  gravel,  of  slight  elevation,  only  about 
200  to  230  feet  in  length.  This  had  evidently  been  used  as 



a  common  cemetery,  as  the  bodies  were  found  deposited  in 
the  earth  without  a  coffin,  though  partly  surrounded  by  stone 
settings.  The  antiquities  found  at  various  times  with  the 
skeletons  seem  to  belong  to  the  latter  part,  or  perhaps  the 
middle,  of  the  early  iron  age. 

Fig.  54-3. — Bronze  vase.     |  real  size. 

Fig.  544. — Border  of  silver  goblet ;  plaque 
with  gold  and  ornamented  with  figures 
in  relief — viz.,  a  double  head  with  mous- 
taches and  helmets ;  a  helmeted  man 
crouching,  with  a  dagger  in  his  hand ; 
two  quadrupeds  with  manes;  a  horned 
animal ;  and  three  birds.  Between  the 
figures  are  dots,  circles,  and  crosses. 

ii:'.  545. — Silver  cup.     \  real  size. 


Fig.  546. — Silver  goblet,  with  re- 
pousse work  of  silver  plated  with 
gold  ;  similar  to  the  Valloby  one. 

\  real  size. 



Fit:.  547. — Flat  basin  or  stew  pan  of  bronze,  containing  two  goblets  of  silver,  <tc.     i  real  si/.\ 

Fig.  548. — Bronze  pail,     i  real  size.     Fig.  549. — Bronze  vise,  ^  real  size,  with  border  upon 

which  are  engraved  hunting  scenes,  a  lion,  two 
horses,  a  tiger  or  leopard,  and  two  bucks,  a  dog 
and  two  deer ;  these  animals  are  separated  by 
trees  and  plants,  the  leaves  of  which,  to  judge 
from  some  traces,  must  hrive  been  silvered  over. 


•:•::  :*.--•: 

Fig.  550. — Part  of  the  design  round  the  border  of  vase,  representing  hunting  scene. 

A  real  size. 

•r.  1 


I  iu.  551.  —  Bronze  fibula  covered  with 
•4-1  dd,  with  an  inscription  scratched  in 
earlier  runes.  '\  real  size. 

Fig.  552.  —  Bronze  fibula  plated  with 
embossed  gold  ornamented  with  3 
blue  glass  knobs  and  an  oval  piece  of 
glass  of  the  same  colour.  §  real  size. 

iu.  553.— Fibula  from  Storeheddinge, 
Zee! and,  showing  the  part  missing  in 
the  one  above.  real  size. 

Fig.  554. — Gold  ring  of  three  spirals 
flattened  and  ornamented  with  heads 
of  animals,  found  still  adhering  to  the 
liime  of  the  hand.  Real  size. 


r.i ///'/;/.  AT  an  AVI:  YAI;I>. 


At  Vurpelev,  Zeeland,  it  grave  was  found  covered  by  several 
slabs;  it  is  nearly  -1  yards  long,  1J  yard  broad,  the  bottom 
beinf  about  3  yards  under  the  surface  of  the  earth.  Within 
lay  the  skeleton.of  a  full-grown  man,  with  its  head  to  the  S.S.AY., 
and  its  feet  to  theX.X.E.; 
alongside  of  it  were  nu- 
merous objects,  the  most 
interesting  of  which  are 
those  of  glass.1 

The  grave-yard  at  Yar- 
pelev  is  a  low  bank  200 
feet  long,  12.")  feet  wide. 
The  bodies  were  laid 
down,  generally,  in  a  bent 
position  in  the  sand  or 
gravel,  in  their  clothes  or 
grave-dress,  but  without  a  coffin.  Old  and 
young  men,  women  and  children  lay  buried 
here,  and  one  corpse  bears  the  mark  of  a 
heavv  sword-cut.  In  the  centre  of  this 


skeleton  graveyard  stood  a  single  clay 
urn,  containing  burnt  bones.  At  one  place 
there  was  a  bed  made  of  paved  stones  burnt 
and  smoked,  which  had  evidently  been  used 

'g-  ^.—Ground  plan 

of  the    Graveard    at 

as  a  pyre. 
The   richest 


was   situated    under  the  highest    point 

of  the  bank,  at  a  depth  of  9  feet  under  the  surface  ;  it  was 

Fig.  557. 

Grave  at  Varpelev. 

made  in  the  gravel,   and   was   surrounded   by  sixteen  rough 
stones  of  different  size  and  shape.     The  majority  were  2  feet 

1  See  also  pages  280,  282,  284. 



in  diameter ;  the  large  stone  at  the  head  measured  3  feet  in 
length  and  width,  and  was  2  feet  thick.  The  interstices  were 
rilled  up  with  blue  clay.  A  large  slab,  2  feet  long,  11  feet 
broad,  and  8  inches  thick,  was  laid  on  the  head,  which  like  the 
rest  of  the  bones  was  much  decomposed,  and  proved  to  be  that 
of  a  heavy-built  man.  The  corpse  lay  on  its  back,  nearly 
straight,  with  its  head  to  the  south-west ;  it  had  originally 
had  over  it  some  kind  of  covering,  as  there  are  remains  of 

clothes  or  a  grave-dress. 

Fig.  558. — Skull  (with  sword-cut  ?), 
Varpelev  Grave.     \  real  size. 


Fig.  559. — Skeleton  of  man; 
above  the  head  two  large 
stones.  Varpelev.  1877. 

Fig.  560.—  I  real         Fig.  561. — Real 
size.  size. 

Two    silver    buckles :    one    found    near  the 
middle  of  the  corpse,  one  near  the  head. 

Fig.  562. — Rea.1  size.      Fig.  563. — Real  size. 
Gold  rings  found  on  ringer  bones. 


r.  i /,•/'/•;/.  AT  FIXD. 


Fig.  564. 

Fig.  565. 

Romau  Coin  of  Probus,  276-82  ;  found  lying  by  right  ear  of  corpse. 

Real  size. 

Fig.  566. — Fragment  of  thin  ornamented  silver  plating,  probably  the 
mounting  of  a  drinking-horn,     k  real  size. 

i^.  567. — Fibula  of  silver,  svastica  shape,  plated  with 
gold,  with  amber  knob  in  the  centre  ;  beautiful  small 
birds  may  be  noticed  on  each  arm  ;  found  in  a  woman's 
grave.  A  real  size. 

VOL.    I. 

Fig.  568. — Hair-pin 
of  gold,  top  orna- 
mented with  gar- 
net ;  found  in  a 
woman's  grave, 
if  real  size. 



Fig.  569.— Skeleton  of 

Fig.  570. — Skeleton  lying  on  its  left  side, 
with  an  iron  knife  near  the  hands. 

Fig.  571. 

Fig.  572. 

Fig.  573. 
Skull,  seen  from  three  sides. 




Similar  antiquities  in  the  North  and  in  Southern  Russia — Roman  coins — 
The  trade  of  Gotland  in  earlier  times — Ornaments  and  other  objects  of 

AMONG  the  archaeological  wealth  of  the  North  still  belonging 
to  the  earlier,  but  not  earliest,  iron  age,  we  find  a  class  of 
graves  and  antiquities  which  are  of  special  importance,  for 
they  help  us  to  fix  very  closely  a  date  for  the  period  to 
which  they  belong,  and  for  this  light  we  are  indebted  to  Roman 
coins  and  other  objects,  both  Roman  and  Greek,  which  these 
graves  contain. 

Many  of  the  finds  of  this  period  are  most  interesting,  as 
showing  the  taste  of  the  people  in  the  North,  and  a  wealth 
and  civilisation  of  which  we  were  not  aware.  They  are  the 
more  valuable  because  we  see  from  them  the  wide  extent  of 
the  maritime  expeditions  and  overland  trading  journeys  of  the 
people  towards  the  beginning  of  the  Christian  era.  They  show, 
as  has  already  been  pointed  out,  the  intercourse  which  the 
people  of  the  North  had  with  those  of  the  Black  Sea  and  the 
Mediterranean,  and  also  with  the  newly-acquired  north-western 
provinces  of  the  Roman  empire  (Gaul,  Britain,  and  Frisia). 
But,  what  is  still  more  important,  they  help  to  prove  the 
general  truthfulness  of  the  earlier  Edda  and  Sagas,  for  they 
show  that  the  Asar,  or  whoever  the  emigrants  were,  who  came 
north,  and  who  were  said  to  have  brought  their  civilisation 
with  them  and  to  have  given  it  to  the  people  there,  were 
either  related  to  or  on  intimate  relations  with  the  people  who 
inhabited  the  shores  of  the  Black  Sea ;  for  many  of  the 
antiquities  which  were  claimed  to  be  of  a  peculiar  northern 
origin  are  identical  with  those  found  there ;  while  similar 

s  2 



ornaments  of  unmistakable  Greek  origin  are  found  in  both 
regions.  To  complete  the  chain  of  proof,  many  of  the  anti- 
quities, both  in  the  Museums  of  Kief  and  Smolensk,  are 
similar  to  those  of  the  North. 

Many  of  the  forms  of  the  antiquities,  such  as  neck-rings 
and  gold  snake-shaped  bracelets,  fibulas,  &c.,  which  were 
thought  to  belong  exclusively  to  the  North,  are  found  in  great 
number  in  the  graves  of  Kertch,  in  Southern  Russia,  where 
they  lie  almost  side  by  side  with  the  exquisite  Grecian 
antiquities — the  pride  of  the  Hermitage  Museum  in  St.  Peters- 
burg— mementoes  of  the  colonies  established  by  Greece  on  the 
shores  of  the  Black  Sea.  They  show  that  at  that  period  there 
were  two  distinct  civilisations  and  peoples  living  near  each 
other — one  Greek,  the  other  native.  The  natives  were  probably 
of  the  -same  stock  as  a  great  number  of  the  people  of  the 

Western  and  Eastern,  Roman  and  Byzantine,  coins  have 
been  found ;  the  gold  solidi  were  for  the  most  part  used  by 
the  people  in  the  North  as  ornaments,  for  loops  have  been 
attached  to  or  holes  made  through  them.  The  two  largest 
discoveries  hitherto  made  of  Roman  coins  are  those  of  Hagesta- 
borg,  in  Scania,  southern  Sweden  (5f>0  denarii),  found  in  1871, 
and  of  Sindarfe  (Hemse  parish),  Gotland,  at  which  latter  spot 
about  1,500  Roman  coins  were  found,  in  1870,  in  a  clay  urn.1 
Few  coins  dating  before  the  Christian  era  have  been  found. 

1  The  earliest  coins  (Gotland)  are 
those  of  Augustus  ('-'9  B.C.  A.D.  14). 
Then  follow  those  of  Nero,  and  coins 
nt'  all  the  different  emperors  to  Alex- 
ander Severus  (222-235) ;  the  greatest 
numbers  arc  those  of  Trajan  (98-117); 
Hadrian  (117-1.'58,;  Antoninus  Pins 
(  li'iS-Kjl';  ;  Faustina,  wife  of  Antoninus 
Pius,  Marcus  Aurelius  (161-180);  Faus- 
tina junior,  wife  of  Marcus  Aurelius,  and 
Coininodiis  (18(1-192).  At  Hagestaborg 
the  nx^t  numerous  were  those  of  An- 
toninus Pius,  Marcus  Aurelius,  Faustina 
the  younger,  and  Coinmorius.  The  earliest 
are  of  the  time  of  Nero  (54-68),  the 
latest  of  that  of  Septimiiis  Severus  (193- 
.11.  In  Olaud  the  earliest  are  those 
of  Trajan,  the  latest  tiio>e  of  Alexander 
Severus.  In  /eeland  the  earliest  are  of 
Vespusian,  the  latest  of  Macrinus  ('217. 

218).  In  Fyen  the  earliest  are  of  Tiberius 
(14-37),  the  latestofGeta  (211.  '212).  In 
Bornholm  the  earliest  are  of  Ntro,  the 
latest  of  Septimius  Severus.  In  Jutland 
the  earliest  are  also  of  Nero,  the  latest  of 
Maeriuus  (217,  218  i.  In  southern  Sweden 
the  earliest  are  of  Claudius  (41-54),  the 
latest  of  Alexander  Severus,  but  only 
one  or  two  of  the  latter  have  been  found  ; 
after  the  time  of  Commodus  the  silver 
denarii  became  rarer  and  rarer.  On 
the  island  of  Fyen  a  complete  series  of 
sold  coins  from  Decius  (249-251)  to 
Licinius  the  elder  (.->07-323)  have  been 
found.  The  Byzantine  coins  are  of  gold, 
and  chiefly  used  as  ornaments,  date  from 
Constantinus  Magnus  (306-337)  to  Ana- 
stasius  (491-518);  one  also  of  Justinius  I. 
(518-5'_'7)  has  been  found.  In  Nor- 
way the  gold  coins  of  the  above  period 


The  people  had  to  learn  that  these  coins  had  an  intrinsic 
value,  and  that  with  them  they  could  Itny  goods.  In  every 
country  where  barter  takes  place  it  lias  taken  a  certain,  some- 
times a  great,  number  of  years  for  the  people  to  learn  this 
value.1  The  fact  that  the  earlier  coins  are  rare  does  not  con- 
clusively prove  that  intercourse  between  the  North  and  the 
Western  parts  of  Europe  had  not  taken  place  before  that 

Judging  from  the  extensive  hoards  of  coins  discovered,  it 
is  not  improbable  that  they  were  kept  for  some  opportune 
time  when  their  need  would  be  required,  such  as  for  purchases 
when  travelling  back  to  the  Western  or  Eastern  Koman  pro- 
vinces. That  the  people  were  well  acquainted  with  the  value 
of  these  coins  is  beyond  dispute,  for  otherwise  they  would  not 
have  kept  them. 

We  must  remember  that  human  nature  is  and  always  has 
been  the  same  ;  there  were  misers  in  those  early  days  as  there 
are  now.  The  ISagas  give  us  some  examples  of  the  practice 
of  hoarding,  and  the  probability  is  that  some  of  the  hoards 
found  may  have  been  collected  during  the  lifetime  of  one  or 
more  persons.  But  the  numbers  found,  in  hoards  or  otherwise, 
even  without  those  which  remain  undiscovered,  show  the 
existence  of  commercial  intercourse. 

( hie  of  the  countries  of  whose  earlier  history  we  know 
nothing,  except  that  it  is  mentioned  here  and  there  in  the 
Sagas,  is  the  island  of  Gotland  ;  but  from  the  finds,  which  are 
especially  rich  in  coins,  we  are  led  to  the  conclusion  that  it 
was  a  great  emporium  of  trade  at  least  from  the  beginning 
of  the  Christian  era  to  the  twelfth  century.  Roman,  Byzantine, 
Arabic,  and  earlier  English  coins  are  found  in  far  greater  mini- 

are  exceedingly  rare,  only  one  of  Valens  A.I>.    249    and    361.      See    also     Appen- 

(:'>i'>4— 378)  and   one  of  Gratuanus  (367-  ;    di.x. 

3751  having   been   discovered  ;    also    one  j        '   I  have  myself  seen  an  illustration  of 

of  Tiberius  Constamius  (57S-.">s_'),  one  this  on  the  African  coast,  where  natives 

of  Mauricius  Tiberius  (582-602),  one  of  could   not   understand   that  coins  repre- 

(Jonstantius   V.  Copronvmus  (741-775),  sent  the  value  of  goods,  though   traders 

one    of    Miclutl     111.   (842-867)     all    of  hud    come   to   their  country  for   a   long 

gold.     Some  of  the  earlier  Arabic  coins  time,  and   in  some  places  they  were  loth 

had    already    made  their    appearance    iu  to  take  money  as  payment,  while  a  few 

Scandinavia.      The     Roman     coins    from  miles  inland  it  was  refuse.!. 
the   Bangstrup    find  date   from   between 



bers  than  in  all  the  Scandinavian  lands  together.  Of  the 
latter,  those  of  Ethelred  are  even  more  numerous  than  in 
England  itself.  Situated  in  a  sea  whose  shores  at  that 
period  seem  to  have  been  inhabited  by  a  dense  population, 
Gotland  appears  to  have  occupied  the  position  of  com- 
mercial supremacy  which  England  holds  in  Europe  to- 

We  have  historical  evidence  of  its  being  a  great  emporium 
of  trade  as  late  as  the  fourteenth  century,  until  Wisby,  its  chief 
town,  was  destroyed  by  the  Danes.  Its  magnificent  towers, 
walls,  and  ruined  churches  still  bear  witness  to  its  past 

From  the  time  of  Alexander  Severus  (A.D.  235)  to  Theodosius 
(A.D.  395),  which  comprises  a  period  of  160  years,  the  coins 
become  very  scarce,  and  Roman  gold  coins  take  the  place  of 

1  See  "  Land  o  the  Midnight  Sun."  The 
islands  of  Zealand  and  Fyen  are  especially' 
rich  in  Roman  objects  and  show  the  exist- 
ence of  great  intercourse  with  the  Roman 
provinces  ;  while  Gotland  is  particularly 
rich  in  coins.  In  the  hamlet  of  Ryk 
(Tanum  parish),  Bohusliin,  a  Roman  coin 
struck  A.n  179  for  the  Emperor  Marcus 
Aurelius  was  found  in  the  ground.  From 
the  inscription  on  the  coin  the  date  can 
be  accurately  fixed,  for  it  was  said  that 
it  was  coined  iii  the  year  when  Marcus 
Aurelius  was  Tribune  for  the  thirty-third 
time,  Imperator  for  the  tenth  time,  and 
Consul  for  the  third  time. 

A  gold  coin  of  Tiberius  (14-37)  was 
found  in  a  stone-set  roffin  at  Rorbrek ; 
a  silver  denarius  of  Nerva  (96— 98)  in  the 
find  of  Fraugdegard,  Fyen;  and  a  silver 
denarius  of  Antoninus  Pius  (138-161), 
with  a  skeleton,  in  a  natural  hill  at 
Bennebo,  near  Holbcek  ;  a  silver  denarius 
of  Lucius  Verus  (161-1H9),  with  a  ske- 
leton, in  a  hill  at  Gunuerugs,  near 
Presto;  a  barbaric  imitation  in  gold  of  .1 
Roman  imperial  coin,  with  a  loop  soldered 
to  it,  found  with  a  skeleton  at  Aareslen 
in  Odense  amt,  Fyen.  One  limit  of  time 
obtained  by  means  of  the  coins  is  certain 
enough,  for  the  graves  cannot  have  been 
closed  before  the  year  of  their  coinage. 

Pyteas  mentions  Gut  tuna'.  The  Got- 
landers  in  the  Sagas  are  called  Gutar; 
they  may  have  met  him  on  some  of  their 
trading  journeys.  The  two  names  seem 
to  be  sufficiently  similar  to  make  this  a 
probable  supposition.  In  the  island  of 

Gotland  a  Greek  coin  of  copper  was  found, 
but  it  seems  to  have  been  struck  at  Panor- 
mus  in  Sicily.  On  the  obverse  is  a  female 
head  looking  to  the  right,  on  the  reverse 
a  horse  galloping  to  the  left:  it  has  no 
Punic  letters.  (In  the  collection  of  Capt. 
C.  T.  von  Braun,  of  Ystad.)  Two  Mace- 
donian coins  of  silver  were  also  found  ; 
one  of  them  is  a  diabole  of  Philip  11., 
similar  to  the  coins  described  in  Miiller, 
"  Der  Macedoniske  Konge  Philipp  II. 's 
Mynter,"  p.  3,  Nos.  14-16,  and  engraved 
Plate  1.  (Both  were  in  the  collection 
of  Capt.  v.  Hrauu,  of  Ystad ;  now  only 
one  remains  there.) 

Also  Roman  coins  anterior  to 
Augustus,  found  together  about  100 
years  ago.  A  silver  coin  of  the  family 
of  Lucretia;  a  silver  coin  of  the 
family  of  Na?via ;  a  coin  of  the 
family  of  Sulpicia.  They  are  all  un- 
usually well  preserved,  but  shorn  on  the 
border.  (In  the  collection  of  Capt.  von 
Braun  Ystad.)  A  silver  coin  of  the 
family  Funa;  a  silver  coin  of  the  family 
Poldicia  ;  one  suba-rate  coin  of  the  family 
Postumia;  one  silver  coin  of  the  family 
Procilia;  a  silver  coin  of  the  family 
Tituria  ;  a  silver  coin  of  the  family 
Veturia.  (In  the  collection  of  Capt.  von 
I'.raun.)  A  silver  coin  of  the  family 
Naevia,  given  by  Capt.  Braun  to  the 
Museum  at  Uddevala  ;  and  a  silver  coin  of 
the  family  Sicinia,  both  well  preserved 
(In  the  Wisby  Museum  ;  formerly  in  the 
collection  of  Mr.  P.  A.  Save.) 


silver.1  From  the  finds  we  see  that  this  period  in  the  North 
becomes  exceedingly  rich  in  gold  jewels,  and  it  seems  probable 
that  the  people  preferred  gold  coins  to  those  of  silver. 

The  North  is  particularly  rich  in  finds  of  bronze  vessels, 
which  appear  to  be  more  specially  of  Greek,  or  some  perhaps 
of  Roman  manufacture ;  the  scarcity  of  them  in  Britain  and 
Gaul  would  imply  that  they  are  chiefly  of  Greek  origin ;  they 
seem  to  have  been  highly  prized  by  the  people. 

Near    the    fishing   village    of    Abekas,    Southern    Scania, 

Fig.  574. — Bronze  vessel,  |  real  size,  containing  burnt  bones,  ring  armour,  coat  or 
mail,  dipper  of  bronze  with  a  sieve  belonging  to  it,  two  glass  tumblers,  &c., 
under  a  stone  slab  buried  in  the  ground. 

in  Jutland,  a  dipper  has  been  found  with  the  name  of 
the  Roman  manufacturer  on  it,  and  the  words  "  P.  CIPI 
POLIBI."  Another,  with  a  name  on  it,  was  also  found  in 
Helsingland,  Sweden. 

1  Three  hundred  and  forty-four  silver 
denarii,  coined  by  the  emperors  between 
Nero  and  Marcus  Aurelius,  among  them 
many  of  Trajan,  Hadrian,  and  Antoninus 
Pius,  have  been  found  at  'the  mouth  of 
the  Elbe. 

Under  a  large  stone  on  a  bank  at 
Sengerich,  in  Hanover,  1,100  silver 
denarii  were  dug  up,  coined  between  the 
years  96  and  211. 

In   Mecklenburg  the  finds  of  imperial 

coins  embrace  the  period  from  Augustus 
to  Valentinian. 

Finds  of  Roman  coins  from  the  first 
two  centuries  after  Christ  have  also  been 
made  at  the  mouth  of  the  Vistula  and  in 
its  lower  course,  near  the  Oder. 

An  especially  interesting  discovery  was 
that  of  a  Greek  denarius  coined  in  Lycia 
by  Trajan ;  the  only  Greek  coin  dis- 
covered in  Hanover. 



Fig   575. — Piece  ot  the  coat  of 
mail.     Real  size.     Oremolla. 

Fig.  576.— Vessel  of  glass.     J,  real 
size.     Oremolla. 

Fig.  577. — Dipper  of  bronze,  with  sieve.     ^  real  size.     Oremolla. 

Fig.  578. — Urn.     ?  real  size.     Oremolla. 



Fig.  579. — Bronze  vessel  of  Roman  workmanship,  containing  burnt  bones,  and  a  few 
pieces  of  melted  glass.  Height,  18  inches.  Inscribed  on  it  are  the  following 
words  in  silver:1  "Apollini  Granno  donvm  Ammillivs  Constans  prafectvs 
templi  ipsivs  votvm  solvit  libentissimo  merito."  Mound,  Fvcklinge,  Yestman- 
laud,  Sweden,  i  real  size. 

II          •!      I        ••!•!! 

Fig.  580. — Roman  bowl  of  bronze,  found,  with  several  antiquities,  under 
a  slab  at  Sojvide,  Gotland. 

1  Apollo  Grannus,  to  whose  temple 
the  vase  once  belonged,  was  worshipped 
by  the  tribes  of  Gaul  and  Belgium.  The 
Roman  historian  Dio  Cassius  relates  that 
he  was  one  of  the  gods  worshipped  by 
the  Emperor  Caracal  la,  who  was  mur- 
dered in  A.D.  217.  The  name  has  also 
been  discovered  in  Transylvania  on  a 

stone  which  Quintus  Axius  .Elianus, 
Governor  of  Dacia  at  the  beginning  of 
the  second  centurv,  had  cut.  It,  however, 
happens  that  this  jElianus  had  before 
this  resided  in  Belgium,  whither  he  had 
probably  brought  with  him  the  worship 
of  the  god. 



Fig.  581. — Ornament  of  a  large  bronze 
vase,  with  hole  for  the  handle;  found 
when  ploughing.  §  real  size.  Gland. 

Fig.   582. — Hnndle    of  a   Roman  bronze 
real  size.     Oland. 


Fig.  "iS:>. — Bronze  vessel.  1  real  size,  with  burnt  bones, 
in  a  tumulus,  with  tuo  bronze  spurs  exactly  alike, 
a  bent  double-edited  sword,  a  spear-head  damaged 
purposely,  lying  over  the  kettle,  another  larger 
spear-head  well  preserved,  &c.  Norway. 

Fig.  584. — Restored  bronze  vase. 

containing  ashes  and  bones, 
length  8J  inches,  encircled  by 
glittering  stones  and  inlaid  with 
silver.  Angvaldnces,  Karmoen, 



Fig.   586 — Silver  vase,    a  real  size.    Byr- 
sted,  Aalborg  amt,  North  Jutland. 

io-.   585. — Bronze 


ing  Juno.    Jj  real  MZI-. 
parish,  01  and. 

statuette,1   represent- 

Osby,  Grasgard 

Fig.  587. — Sieve  of  bronze,  J  real  size, 
found  with  ornaments  of  bronze  and  a 
drinking  horn,  a  gold  charm,  two  gold 
rings,  and  a  small  gold  button  found  in 
a  sepulchral  chamber  of  little  over  4 
yards  in  length,  and  about  2  feet  3 
inches  wide.  Norway. 

Fis;.  588. — Handle  of  the  sieve.     Real  size. 

1    More  than  fortv  different  statuettes  have  been  found. 



Fi'_f.  .">s<». — Ornament  of  a  bronze  vase,  2  real  size, 
found  in  a  tumulus.     Norway. 

Fig.  590. — Ornament  of 

bronze.     J  real  size. 

Fig.  591. — Bronze  vessel  from  Mosboek  bog.     Jutland. 

Fit:.  5'.»2.  —  Fragments  of  a 
bronze  chain,  probably  part 
"I  rli I  ing  gear.  \  real  size. 
Hog,  Karby  on  Mors. 

Kig.  593.— Head  at  fast- 
ening of  the  handle  of 
the  bronze  vessel. 


Fit;.  594. — Bronze  basin,  over  a  kettle  containing  buint  bones,  \  real  size,  in  round 
tumulus,  inside  a  little  stone  cist  built  of  slabs  ;  with  it  also  were  a  brouze 
kettle  and  a  glass  cup.  Norway. 

Fig.  595. — Bronze  vase  containing  burnt  bones,  wrapped  in  a  dark  green  woollen 
cloth  with  greenish  and  yellow  stripes,  fastened  with  a  fibula  of  silver.  In  the 
chamber  were  a  pair  of  shears  and  other  objects.  Ringkjobing  nmt,  Jutland. 

Fig.  596. — Vase,  \  real  size,  found  in  a  round  mound.  Yang  Hdm..  Norway,  with 
fragments  of  another  bronze  vessel  of  the  same  size,  but  of  a  somewhat  dillerent 
form.  It  has  on  it  the  inscription  "  T.IHKRTINVS.  KT.  APRVS.  CVRATOU  [i-;s.  POS] 
VERVNT."  Originally  it  must  have  belonged  to  a  Roman  temple  of  one  of  the 
northern  provinces  of  the  empire,  and  was  offered  to  this  temple  by  two  of  the 
administrators  (curatores)  named  above  The  shape  of  the  letters  le.-id>  to  tin- 
conclusion  that  the  vase  belongs  to  the  first  century  of  our  era. 



Fig.  597. — Bronze  bucket  of  Roman  make,  1  real  size,  found  in  a  round  mound, 
Norway,  together  with  a  spear  of  iron  and  other  objects  of  the  same  metal, 
but  these  were  so  decayed  as  to  be  undistinguishable. 

Fig.  598. — Bronze  vessel  about  10  inches 
high.     Angvaldnces  mound,  Norway. 

Fig.  599. — Flat  finder-ring  of  silver  and 
alloyed  mold,  real  size,  found  together 
with  fragments  of  Roman  or  Greek 
bronze  vessels,  four  small  beads  of 
greenish  glass,  and  two  bronze  fibulae, 
in  a  mound,  Hjorring,  Jutland. 

Fig.  600. — Bronze  ring,  real  size,  with  Latin  inscription,  "Divo  Trajano  Parth. 
Avg.  Patri."     Holboek,  Denmark. 



Fig.  601. — Fart  of  bent  sword,  real  size,  showing  inscription 
in  Latin  "RANVICI,"  probably  a  name,  and  above  it  a  stamp, 
probably  constituting  the  trade-mark  of  its  maker. — Similar 
swords  have  been  found  at  other  places  in  tin1  North,  in 
the  Nvdam  and  Vimose  bogs. 

Fig.  602.  —  Bent 
sword,  \  real  size, 
found  in  a  mound 
at  Einantj,  Kris- 
tians  Amt,  Nor- 
way, on  a  layer 
of  charcoal  and 
burnt  bones. 

Fig.  603. — Bronze  vessel,  of  Roman  manufacture,  mound  48  to 
50  feet  diameter,  6  feet  high,  found  in  a  mound  at  llarf, 
Meldelpad  Sweden,  above  a  slab,  filled  with  burnt  bones, 
an  iron  spear-point,  fibula  o!  bronze,  fragments  of  c!ay 
urns,  &c.  $  real  size. 



Fig.  604.— Bronze  kettle,  i  real  size,  Brokaer,  Ribe,  Jutland;  found  with  fragments 
cf  Roman  bronze  vessels;  and  of  two  massive  coats  of  mail;  fragments  of 
artistically  woven  cloth;  double-edged  sword  with  scabbard;  comb,  fragments 
of  checkers,  oblong  dice  of  bone,  and  fragments  of  a  silver  drinking-horn,  &c. 

Fig.  605. — Ornaments  of  silver  for  drinking-horn,  Broker,  Ribe,  Jutland,    f  real  size. 

On  the  farm  of  Brottby,  Osby,  Upland,  a  grave-mound 
of  about  150  feet  in  circumference  and  13  feet  in  height  was 
found.  The  mound,  the  exterior  of  which  was  of  earth, 
covered  a  cairn,  in  which  was  found  a  stone  burial  chamber 
enclosing  a  clay  urn.  The  upper  part  contained  bones,  which 
were  entirely  unburnt,  below  which  were  pieces  of  the  skull, 
also  unburnt.1 

1  Among  the  bones  outside  the  urn 
were  found  various  fragments  of  bronze, 
six  clinch-nails  of  iron,  remains  of  glass, 
a  burnt  oblong  loaf  of  bread,  two  pieces 
of  a  head  ornament  of  bronze  with  rivets 
of  iron,  a  ring  of  bronze,  twelve  beads  of 

glass  of  different  size  and  appearance, 
a  damaged  hanging  oinament  of  bronze, 
a  square  plate  of  bronze  with  iron  rivets, 
a  denarius  of  the  Emperor  Marcus  Au- 
relius  coined  in  A.D.  162. 

BIWTTHY  ri.\l>. 


Fig.  606. — Grave-chamber  found  at  Brottby,  Upland. 

Fig.  608.  Fig.  609.  Fig.  610. 

Glass  beads,  of  pale  red  colour,  with  white   flowers 
with    light    and    dark-green     leaves ;    one    is 
Fig.  607. — A  buckle  of  bronze  found          fastened  to  a  silver  wire.     Of  the  twelve  beads, 
with  an  iron  needle.     Brottby.  three  are  represented  here.     Brottby. 

Bronze  chain,  found  in  a 
small  elevation  J  foot 
deep,  with  a  bead 
covered  with  some 
metal,  and  a  silver 
wire  like  the  one  in 
Brottby  parish.  Up- 

Fig.  611. 

Fig.  612.  Fig.  613. 

Denarius  of  Marcus  Aurelius 

A.D.    1<>'2.       1',1'iittiiV. 

VOL.    I. 



Fig.  614. — Fibula  of  gold,  ornamented 
with  eight  garnets.  Aareslev,  Fyen. 
Real  size. 

Fig.  615. — Fibula  with  hanging  orna- 
ment of  gold,  real  size,  representing  a 
lion's  head  ;  the  filagree  work  is  orna- 
mented with  garnets,  found  with 
another  large  silver  fibula,  a  crystal 
ball,  a  vase  of  bronze,  an  imitation  of 
a  Roman  coin,  &c.  Aareslev,  Fyen. 


Fig.  616.— The  crystal  ball 
with  Greek  inscription 
found  near  a  skeleton 
with  hanging  ornaments, 
&c.  Aareslev,  Fyen.  Real 

Fig.  617. — Part  of  a  belt  buckle,  silver  gilt.     ^  real  size. 

HtHAX  AND  HY/.AXTINE  €<>L\*,   I  ., 


Fit;.  (ilO. — Bronze  or- 
nament, real  size, 
found  with  kettle. 
Mb'llegaard,  Bro- 

Fig.  618. — Bronze  vessel,  \  real  size,  so  brittle,  that  only  by  covering  it  all  around 
with  clay  could  it  be  moved  away.  It  is  made  of  two  parts  joined  together 
in  the  middle  with  small  flat  rivets  of  bronze,  and  contained  six  quarts  of  burnt 
bones,  among  which  were  seventeen  human  teeth,  different  articles  of  iron  and 
bronze,  which  had  been  packed  in  apparently  coarse  linen,  small  fragments  ct 
which  only  remained;  a  bronze  mounting-  for  a  drinking-horn,  and  different 
kinds  of  iron  knives;  iron  mounting  for  a  knife-handle,  remains  of  two  iron 
awls,  an  iron  key,  two  small  melted  lumps  of  silver,  remains  of  about  thirty-two 
bone  needles,  a  glass  bead  with  green  ground  and  yellow  stripes,  remains  of  four 
earthen  vessels,  &c.  ilo'llegaard,  Broholm. 


/«,?,£' ir-JoBlm  f*b 

Fig.    620. 

Fig.  621. 

Fig.  623. 

Byzantine  gold  coins,  fifth  century,  Libius        Barbaric   imitation  of  Byzantine   coin  of 

SPVPVIK      rmrl      fminH       in       Vlinrn-  thp    fi  ft  K     c^Mfnvt'          P^-il     c  TU.,11 

and  Leo.  found  in  Bjorn- 
hofda,  Oland,  with  thirty-three  other 
coins  of  the  same  century.  Real  size. 

the  fifth  ceuturv. 
gards,  Gotland. 

Real  size.     Mall- 

Fig.  624.  Fig.  625. 

Antonini  Pii. 

Fig.  626.  Fig.  ti'27. 

Faustina  the  youngei'. 




Vessels  with  painted  figures —Vessel?  with  Greek  letters— Drinking-horns  of 

glass — Cut  glass. 

NOTHING  perhaps  can  give  us  a  better  idea  of  the  refined 
taste  of  some  of  the  Northmen  than  the  beautiful  glass  objects 
which  have  been  found  in  different  parts  of  the  country. 
Many  of  these  are  evidently  of  Greek,  some  perhaps  of  Roman, 

Fig.  629.— 3J  inches  high  ;  3&th  inches 
diameter.  A  brown  bull,  with  a  blue 
band  with  brown  dots,  attacks  a  brown 
bear.  To  the  left  a  man  in  yellow  coat 
and  green  breeches,  holding  a  whip  in 
nne  hand,  in  the  other  a  blue  shield  ; 
to  the  right  a  stag,  being  torn  by 
a  lion,  both  brown. 

Fig.  628. —  2£  inches  high  ;  diameter 
across  top,  3  inches ;  across  bottom, 
lT7Bths  of  an  inch.  A  blue  panther, 
with  grey  or  brown  contours  and  dots, 
attacks  a  brown  stag  ;  on  the  other  side 
of  which  is  a  brown  lioness.  Between 
the  animals  are  circles  of  dots,  brown 
and  yellow  bv  turns,  with  a  brown  spot 
in  their  middle. 

These  two  vessels  were  found  in  a  field,  Nordrup,  Zceland,  in  a  grave  3  feet  4  inches 
under  the  ground.  It  contained  a  skeleton,  and,  besides  the  two  vessels,  a  Roman 
bronze  vessel  and  bronze  sieve,  a  gold  finger-ring,  a  silver  fibula,  forty-one  beads 
of  glass  and  glass  mosaic,  a  clay  vessel,  and  fragments  of  two  clay  vessels. 

origin.  Tn  the  museums  of  Italy,  Greece,  or  Russia  no  such 
exquisite  bowls  are  found,  which  after  having  been  painted 
they  seem  to  have  been  baked  or  subjected  to  heat  in  order 
that  they  might  retain  their  colour. 

Glass,  as  we  have  seen,  has  been  found  in  the  later  bronze 

OF  GLASX  \vrni  I'AL\TL\G. 


Fig.  630. — 4  inches  high,  3f  inches  in  diameter  across  top.     In  a  mound,  Viborg  amt, 


n  I  G  Z  H  C  A  I  C  K  A  AO)C 

Fig.  631 — Fragment  of  glass  vessel,  with  gladiator  and  shield  of  blue  tint,  the  gloves 
and  shoulders  are  brown.     Arm  and  legs  of  the  other  gladiator  rlesh  colour. 

Fig.  632.— Fragments  of  glass  bowl  found  in  a  grave  by  Thorslunde,  Fyen.  'j  real  size. 
The  wolf  is  greyish  upon  light  yellow  ground.  The  arm  and  legs  are  of  a  l>rn\vii 
tint,  the  dots  yellow  and  brown.  These  lay  alongside  remains  of  skeletons  which 
seem  to  have  been  buried  in  sitting  posture ;  some  of  the  designs  are  raised. 


age :  the  ancient  name  for  a  miter  in  the  North  was  gler,1  which 
was  well  known  by  the  stone  age  people ;  but  we  are  aware 
that  glass  was  unknown  to  them. 


Fig.  633. — Fragment  of  a  glass  bowl  of  a  green  tint,  3  real  size,  found  in  a  grave 

mound  by  Thorslunde. 

Fig.  634. 

Fig.  635. 

Fig.  636. 

Fig.  637. 

Fig.  638. 

Fig.  639. 
Bonier  of  the  vase. 

Fig.  640. 

Besides  the  glass  vessels  of  Eoman  or  Greek  workmanship 

1  The  word  amber  occurs  in  three 
earlier  poems.  Magical  runes  were 
written  cm  gler. — Sigrdrifumal.  Pliny 

in  his  '  Natural  History,'  Book  xxxv. 
3,  42,  speaks  of  amber  as  being  "  formed 
in  the  islands  of  the  Northern  Ocean." 


others  of  inferior  quality,  as  is  the  case  in  every  country,  have 
been  found  ;  some  of  these,  which  are  generally  of  a  bluish 
green,  yellow  or  white  tint,  are  cut,  some  ornamented  with 
thread  patterns  in  relief. 

Fig.  641.  Fig.  642. 

Fragments  of  what  must  have  been  a  magnificent  glass  vase  of  a  dark  blue  colour  ; 
the  figures  in  relief  are  ot'  an  opaque  white  and  represented  most  probably  some 
mythological  subject.  Sb'lberg,  Lower  Eker.  Norway. 

Fig.  643. — Glass  drinking-horn.     Norway. 

Fig  644. — Thin  greenish  glass  vessel,  open  at  both  ends.    \  real  size.     Varpeler. 

Fig.  645.  — Amethyst-coloured 
glass  bowl.  5  real  size.  Var- 

Fig.  646. — Glass  drinking-horn,  length  s  inches,  diameter  of  mouth  2J  inches; 
very  rare  in  the  North.     \  real  size.     Bavenho'i. 


Fig.  (>4i . — Vessel  or  goblet  of 
greenish  glass,  ornamented 
with  fillets.  £  real  size. 

Fig.  648. — Glass  vessel,  i  real 
size.  With  white  and  blue 
ornamented  threads,  found 
with  beads,  and  bronze  pans 
and  sieves,  in  a  woman's 
skeleton  grave.  Ringsted, 

Glass  with  thread-lilce  lines  have  been  found  in  a  stone  coffin,  Roman,  near  Dusseldorf. 

Fig.  649. — Dark  blue  glass  bowl  mounted  with  silver,  on  which  was  inscription  in  Greek 
letters,  GYTYXGOC  (with  good  luck).  £  real  size.  Above  the  head  of  the 
skeleton  in  the  grave,  but  more  or  less  damaged  by  the  large  stone,  were  at  least 
six  glass  vessels  and  fragments  of  clay  urns.  Varpelev. 


Fig.  650. —Vessel  of  greenish  white  glass  with  representations  of  various  animals, 
found  broken  in  many  pieces.     2  real  size.     Bavenhoi. 

Fig.  651. — Animals  represented  on  this  glass  vessel.  Lion,  yellow  and  brown  ;  bear, 
dark  brown  with  light  yellow  outlines;  animal  with  fore  part  of  body  missing, 
probably  an  ox.  ^  real  size.  Bavenhoi. 

Fig.  652. — Portion  of  glass  vessel,  much  damaged,      i  real  size.     Two  lions,  light 
yellow,  blue  outlines,  a  double  cross  in  the  middle.      Bavenhoi.' 

1   For  other  objects  in  Bavenhoi  find,  see  p.  2 .VJ -•_'."> 4 



Fig.  653.  — Vessel  of  whitish  green  glass,  ornamented  in  various  colours  which  have 
been  burnt  on  the  vessel  itself.  The  colour  of  the  four  letters  D.V.B.P.  repre- 
sented on  the  cup  has  been  destroyed  by  the  effects  of  time,  as  has  also  that  of 
the  beak,  wings  and  legs  of  the  bird.  This,  however,  perfectly  resembles  the 
bird  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  cup,  which  is  better  preserved,  and  on  which 
the  wing  is  light  yellow  with  dark  brownish  outlines,  the  beak  and  legs  red. 
§  real  size.  Varpelev.1 

•_!-"--- —  __.---  '  — . 

^QQ-?L©-0ogQgpooo  crxcspec^coc^oc^. 


"iWlcES*^  _.^      JWss^  <S^8»Z*"         X-' 


~  v^Sior-0000'V>OOOOCOOOOOOOO«v'- 

Fig.  654. — General  design  of  vase.     | 


real  size. 

Fig.  655. — Glass  cup,  funnel  shape. 
Bjorko,  Sb'dermanland. 

Fig.  656. — Glass  cup,  J  real  size,  found 
in  a  round  tumulus,  with  a  large 
bronze  vase  with  two  arms,  the  bronze 
ornamentation  of  a  wooden  bucket,  &c., 
&c.  Norway. 

For  other  objects  found  at  Varpelev,  see  p.  256-258. 



Fig.  657. — Glass  vessel.      J  real  size. 

—:  •      '  ,     "~r V"''  — 

.          A   4  4  ? 

Fig.  658. — Glass  vessel.   £  real 
size.     Norway. 

Fig.  659. — Found  deep  in  a  stone  circle. 
The  cup  or  glass  covered  an  urn  of 
clay  with  burnt  bones  and  some  glass 
beads,  etc.  J  real  size.  Upland. 

iff.  660. — In  a  stone  cist,  with  a  skeleton, 
some  arrow-heads  of  bonp,  and  a  clay  urn, 
etc.,  etc.  £  real  size.  Gland. 

Fig.  661.  —  Glass  vessel  fnund 
in  a  stone  cist  nnitniniiiL:  n 
skeleton,  with  a  clay  vessel,  an 
iron  knife,  and  bronze  mount- 
ing for  two  drinking-horns, 
real  size.  Gotland. 



Fig.  662.— Tumbler  of  thick 
green  glass  ^  real  size, 

Fig.  663.  —  Glass 
vessel  found  in  a 
mound  with  un- 
burnt  skeleton. 



Favourite   colours  of  horses — Splendour  of  the   harness — Iron    and   bronze 

bits — Spurs — Bridles. 

WE  have  ample  proof  from  the  Sagas  that  the  people  of  the 
North  were  great  breeders  of  horses,  and  took  pride  in  their 
adornment.  We  are  told  of  the  favourite  colours  of  horses,  and 
the  finds  bear  witness  to  the  gorgeousness  of  their  harness  and 

"  Stein  was  for  a  while  with  King  Kmit,  and  was  conspicuous 
tor  his  weapons  and  clothes,  and  was  called  Stein  the  Proud. 
Old  and  wise  men  have  told  how  Stein  was  so  haughty  that  he 
had  his  horse  shod  with  gold,  and  the  hoof  above  adorned. 
King  Kmit  thought  Stein  vied  with  him  in  magnificence,  ;md 
therefore  Stein  left  him  "  (Fins.  v.  181). 

"  King  Adils  liked  good  horses  very  much,  he  had  the  best 
horses  at  that  time.  One  of  his  horses  was  called  S1<»i</r/r 
(the  flinging  one),  and  another  Hrafn  (Raven) ;  the  latter  he 
took  from  Ali  when  he  was  dead,  and  another  horse  also  called 
Jlrafn  was  bred  by  him  ;  he  sent  it  to  Kino;  Godgest  in 

v  */  O 

Haloga'land.  Godgest  rode  on  it  and  could  not  stop  it  and  fell 
down,  and  was  killed  "  l  (Ynglinga  Saga,  ch.  33). 

The  chief  Thorstein  Kuggason  had  to  seek  shelter  during 
bad  weather  at  the  farm  of  Bjorn  Hitdaelakappi  while  going  to 
help  his  foes.  When  Thorstein  took  leave  : 

"Bjorn  sent  for  the  stud-horses  which  were  near  the  hay- 
house,  for  fodder  was  given  to  them  while  the  bad  weather 
lasted.  The  stallion  was  a  son  of  Hvltimj  (some  famous 
stallion")  and  was  white,  but  the  mares  were  chestnut.  Another 

1  Cf.  also  Flatevjarbuk,  i.   401 ;    Hrolf   Kraki,  c.   44 ;    Heiclarviga    Saga,  c.   i't.i ; 
Eyrbysgja  Saga,  c.  13. 


son  of  Hviting,  also  white,  was  in  Thorarinsdal ;  but  the  mares 
(with  him)  were  black.  Bjorn  had  the  stud-horses  led  to 
Thorstein,  and  said  lie  wished  to  give  them  to  him.  Thorstein 
said  he  would  not  take  them  ;  "  for  I  am  not  yet  worthy  of 
gifts  from  thee,  and  if  I  reward  thee  not  for  this  entertainment 
which  I  have  now  received  from  thee  then  I  shall  probably  not 
reward  thee  for  further  benefits,  but,  if  I  reward  the  entertain- 
ment as  well  as  thou  deservest,  then  I  will  receive  the  horse, 
and  see  that  thou  gettest  something  in  return  "  (Bjorn  Hitdaela 
kappi's  tSaga,  p.  55). 

An  Icelander,  Odd  Ufeigsson,  had  traded  with  the  Finns, 
which  no  man  was  allowed  to  do  without  the  king's  leave. 
Thorstein,  one  of  Harald  Hardradi's  hirdmen,  saved  him  from 
Harald,  who  wanted  to  slay  him,  and  Odd  escaped  to  Iceland. 
On  one  occasion,  when  Harek,  Thorstein's  kinsman  came  to 

"  Odd  sent  with  him  to  Norway  a  good  stud  of  horses  as  a 
gift  to  Thorstein,  and  said,  as  was  true,  that  Thorstein  had 
saved  the  lives  of  him  and  his  crew.  Harek  came  to  Norway 
to  his  kinsman  Thorstein,  who  was  still  with  the  king.  He 
brought  him  the  horses  and  said  they  were  sent  to  him  by  Odd. 
Thorstein  said:  'This  is  very  unfortunate  for  me  as  but  for 
this  the  help  that  I  gave  Odd  and  his  men  would  not  have 
been  known  ;  now  I  cannot  hide  it,  and  it  is  somewhat  difficult 
to  escape.'  Thorstein  showed  the  horses  to  the  king,  and  said, 
'  they  were  a  gift  sent  by  Odd.'  The  king  answered  :  '  [  was 

•/  C*  *<  o 

not  worthy  of  gifts  from  Odd  ;  he  has  sent  them  to  thee  and 
not  to  me'  "l  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  vi.  383-384). 

The  magnificence  with  which  the  harness  used  by  these 
people  was  ornamented  is  shown  by  their  horse-collars,  several 
of  which,  made  of  wood  and  richly  decorated,  are  now  in  the 


Museum  of  Northern  Antiquities  in  Copenhagen.  The  fact 
that  such  collars  have  always  been  found  in  pairs  shows  that 
two  horses  were  generally  harnessed  to  the  waggons  used  ;  the 
pair  is  always  similar,  and  the  ornamentation  at  the  ends, 
often  of  bronze  gilt,  or  silver,  or  gold,  generally  consists 
of  animals'  heads  such  as  are  so  commonly  represented  on 
fibuhe.  At  the  top  of  the  collars  is  a  hole,  through  which  the 

1  Cf.  also  Finnboga  Saga,  c.  23  ;  Gunulaug  Ormstunga's  Saga,  e.  5. 



rein   passed,  and  the  wood  is  decorated  with  represent, 'it ions  of 
human  heads  of  metal,  the  triskele,  and  birds,  &c.,  riv.-t.-d  on. 

Fig.  664.  —  Collar  for  driving  of  gilt  bronze,  grave 
mound,  Jutland.      J  real  size. 

A  remarkable  horse-collar  was  found  at  Sollested,  Assens, 
Fyen,  in  a  sepulchral  chamber,  30  feet  long,  9  feet  broad,  \\itli 
its  entrance  facing  the  north-east  ;  the  representations  of  heads 

Horse-collar  found  in 
sepulchral  chamber 
at  Sollested,  Assens, 
Fyen.  Among  other 
interesting  finds  in 
this  sepulchral  cham- 
ber were  the  remains 
of  a  cinerary  urn 
with  burnt  bones  and 

Fig.  666.  Fig.  667. 

Front  view.     \  real  size. 

fragments  of  iron; 
equipment  for  two 
horses,  including  re- 
mains of  a  magni- 
ficent saddle,  Imrvr^' 
bits  ornamented  with 
gold  and  silver  ;  .stir- 
rups inlaid  with  silvr 
and  sfold.  &c..  .Sec. 

riveted  to  the  collar  are  similar  to  numerous  ones  found  in 
Southern  Russia,  of  which  many  examples  are  to  bo  seen  in 
the  Hermitage,  St.  Petersburg. 



Fig.  668. — Fragments  of  harness  with  nails  and  other  ornaments  of  iron  covered 
with  silver,  sewn  on  leather.     Real  size.     Denmark. 

Fig.  670. — Chains  of  iron,  \  real  size,  with  large  rings  at  the  end.     Sollested 

b.  671. — End  of  waggon-pole.     Real  size.     Sollested. 



Fig.  672.  Fig.  673. 

Parts  of  a  bit  of  bronze  gilt,  §  real  size,  found  in  a  round  tumulus  explored  in  1852, 
containing  the  remains  of  a  ship  and  a  waggon,  pieces  of  a  wooden  saddle  riveted 
with  gilt  bronze  ornaments,  several  stirrups,  bones  of  several  animals,  &c.  Void 
Borre,  Norway. 

Fig.  674. — Iron  spur  found  in  a  tumulus. 
^  real  size.     Norway. 


Fig.  675. — Ornament  to  horse  collar  of 
bronze  gilt.     £  real  size. 

Fig.  676. — Iron  spur,  found  in 
a  tumulus  with  a  stone  vase, 
a  single-edged  sword,  an  axe, 
two  spear-heads, a  shield-boss, 
a  pair  of  stirrups,  &c.  J  real 
size.  Norway. 

Fig.  677. — Part  of  horse  collar  of  bronze.     J  real  size. 
VOL.    I. 








Fig.  679. — Iron  bit,  ^  real  size,  found  in  a  tumulus  Fig.  680. — Iron  bit,  §  real  size,  found  iu 
with  a  two-edged  sword,  two  spear-heads,  an  a  tumulus  with  a  large  axe,  a  spear- 
axe,  three  knife-blades,  fragments  of  a  shield-  head,  thirteen  arrow-heads,  six  shield 
boss,  &c.,  all  of  iron.  Norway.  bosses,  two  knife-blades,  clinch  nail*,  etc. 


Fig.  681. — Iron  bit  found  in  a  tumulus.    |  real  size.     Norway 

Fig.  682. — Iron  bit.     g  real  size.     Norway. 

Fig.  683. — Iron  bit,  jj  real  size,  found  in  a  tumulus,  with  burnt  bones.     Norway. 



Fig.  684. — Iron  bit  for  horses.     J  real  size.     Ultima. 

Fig.  685. — About  5  real  size.     Norway.     In  a  mound 

Fig.  686. — Stirrup,  J  real  size,  found  in  a 
mound  upon  the  island  of  Bjorko. 

Fig.  687. — Stirrup  of  iron  inlaid  with 
silver.  ^  real  size.  Viborg,  Jutland. 
In  a  grave  with  other  riding  gear. 

U    L' 



Fig.  688. — Iron  stirrup. 
?.  veal  size.     Norway. 

Fie-  689.  —  Iron  stirrup, 
found  in  the  upper  part  of 
a  large  round  mound,  with 
two  double-edged  swords 
bent  in  two,  three  spear- 
heads, five  horses'  bits,  a 
pair  of  shears,  pincers, 
two  bronze  fibulae,  horses' 
teeth,  burnt  bones,  &c. 
real  size.  Norway. 

Fig.   690. — Iron    stirrup 
'I  real  size.     Norway. 


Fig.  691. — Gold  spur,  %  real  size;  weight,  9  ozs. 
nenes,  Norway  ;  earlier  iron  age. 


Fig.  692.  Fig-  693- 

Ornaments  of  above  spurs,  real  size  ;  weight,  11  ozs. ;  the  point  of  iron 

missing;  traces  of  the  rust  still  seen.     Smaalenenes,  Norway. 



Fig.  697. — Spur  of  iron,  real 

circle,  with  burnt  bones, 
two  spear  -  points,  &c. 

Fig.  696. — Spur  of  iron,  \  real  size. 
Found  in  a  large  heap  of  stones  of 
oblong  shape,  with  a  spear-head  of 
iron,  a  double-edged  sword,  &c. 

Fig.  694.— 
Bridle  and  bit 
in  bronze, 
Smaland.  (Jol- 
lection  of 
Count  G.  Ks- 
sen.  i  real 

Fig.  698.  —  Spur  of  bronze.     Claud. 
Real  size. 

Fig.  699.— Spur  of  bronze,  real  size,  found  in 
mound,  with  another  spur  quite  similar,  a 
bronze  kettle,  a   bent  double-edged  sword,  a 
spear-head    spoiled  intentionally,  &c.      Nor- 



Waggons  are  seldom  mentioned  in  the  Sagas,  and  no  descrip- 
tion of  their  appearance  is  given;  but  we  learn  that  dead 
warriors  were  sometimes  put  in  them  and  burned  on  the  pyre, 
and  the  correctness  of  this  statement  is  proved  by  the  finds  in 
various  graves,  among  others  in  one  at  Broholm,  Fyen,  where 
fragments  of  a  waggon  have  been  found  together  with  burnt 
bones,  a  large  kettle,  several  iron  swords,  shield  bosses,  gold 
jewels,  &G.J&C.  But  though  remains  of  waggons  have  been  found, 

Fig.  701. 

Fig.  702. 

Fig.  700.  Fig.  703. 

Parts  of  perch  of  waggon  with  symbolic  signs,  Denmark. 

it  was  not  till  the  discovery  in  the  bog  of  Deibjerg,  Riug- 
kjobing  in  the  North  of  Jutland,  that  we  obtained  a  knowledge 
of  their  shape  and  of  the  splendour  of  their  ornamentation. 

In  this  bog  two  waggons  of  a  similar  pattern,  one  of  which  in 
an  almost  complete  state  of  preservation  is  represented  here, 
were  discovered.  The  spokes  of  the  wheels  had  evidently  been 
bent  by  heat,  and  the  iron  tires  round  them  had  apparently 
been  bent  by  force  ;  the  pole,  which  was  also  richly  ornamented 



with  bronze,  and  the  bottom  and  sides  were  well  preserved, 
but  the  waggon  of  which  a  representation  is  given  was  more 
copiously  ornamented  with  mystic  signs  than  its  companion. 
The  following  extracts  from  Sagas  refer  to  the  use  of  these 

Fig.  704. 

Fig.  705. 

Fig.  706. 
Parts  of  sides  of  different  waggon;  with  symbolic  signs.    Denmark.     J  real  size. 

waggons  by  the  people.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  these 
waggons  are  almost  identical  in  shape  with  the  modern  KHrra, 
used  in  Sweden.  (See  '  Land  of  the  Midnight  Sun,'  Vol.  i., 
p.  51). 

Gunnar  said  he  was  ready  To  redress  claims, 

To  offer  gold,  And  also  Hogni ; 



She  (Grimhild)1  asked 
Who  would  go 
To  saddle  the  horse, 
To  horse  the  waggon, 
To  ride  the  steed, 
To  fly  the  hawk, 
To  shoot  arrows 
Of  the  yew-bow.2 

Then  on  a  horse 

Was  every  warrior  seen, 

And  into  waggons 

Welsh  (foreign)  wives  were  lifted. 

We  rode  seven  days 

Over  the  cold  land, 

And  other  seven 

We  pressed  the  waves, 

And  the  third  seven 

We  stepped  on  dry  land. 

(Gmlninar  Kvida,  ii.  18,  35.) 

"King  Sigurd  of  Hringariki  had  two  children,  a  daughter 
Ragnhild,  and  a  son  Guthorm.  Haki  the  Berserk  slew  him 
arid  took  his  son  and  daughter  home  with  him.  Halfdan  the 
black  sent  one  hundred  men  for  them,  who  fetched  them  and 
burned  the  hall  of  Haki.  They  tented  a  very  fine  waggon,  and 
put  Ragnhild  and  Guthorm  in  it  "  (Halfdan  the  black's  Saga, 
ch.  5).  ' 

"  One  summer  King  Eirek  had  a  feast  made  at  Uppsalir. 
Then  he  had  two  waggons  driven  to  the  place  where  he  sacrificed 
to  the  god  called  Lytir.  It  was  customary  for  the  waggon  to 
stand  there  during  the  night  and  for  the  god  to  come  in  the 
morning.  Now  Lytir  did  not  come  as  he  usually  did,  and  the 
king  was  told  that  he  disliked  to  do  so.  The  waggon  stood 
for  two  nights  and  he  did  not  come.  Then  the  king  began  to 
offer  much  greater  sacrifices  than  before,  and  the  third  morning 
they  became  aware  that  Lytir  had  come.  Then  the  waggon  was 
so  heavy  that  the  horses  fell  dead  from  exhaustion  before  they 
could  pull  it  to  the  hall.  The  waggon  was  then  put  on  the 
middle  of  the  floor  of  the  hall,  and  the  king  walked  to  it  with 
a  horn,  and  welcomed  Lytir,  and  said,  he  wanted  to  drink  to 
him  and  was  very  anxious  that  he  should  undertake  the 
journey,  and  that  he  would  give  him  large  gifts  as  before  " 
(Flateyjarbok,  i.  579-580). 

"When  he  was  ready  to  ride  away  two  white  horses  with 
black  ears  were  led  forward,  they  belonged  to  Thord  Breidavad 
and  had  disappeared  that  summer  at  the  Thing  "  (Heidarviga 
Saga,  c.  20). 

'  The  queen  '  Yrsa '  had  twelve  horses  led  forward,  they 
were  all  brown  except  one  which  was  white  as  snow,  and  on  this 
one  Hrolf  was  to  ride.  They  were  the  best  horses  of  King 

1  Grimhild  had  asked  her  sons  Gnnnar 
and  Hb'gni  to  pay  wcregitd  to  (iiidnin 
because  they  had  slaiu  her  husband, 

Sigurd  Fafnisbani. 

-  This  shows  that  bows  of  yew  as  well 
as  of  elm  were  used. 

SCULPTURED  8TOXK  WITH  HORSE  AND  WAGG<>\.          !>!>7 

^9r      yL,J?  :^L3~it?  -^— ••    "BiS^.%"!tsr--c»**0«Kr- 

K  '"~S  "lp?..:ys^y>C£<3i  «tei/ :i^ii^^Si«  ••^if ;  . 
"^^\\^>^r/---r>e.?s1  •-•:^si|^\  "-  ' 
lf^>\-XA\  •  ;i  ^r-,  •J®fsMf*^> 

r^Ol    '  ,   ,^^4t:^^r|  ^y 

•-•••.'  *t  --^  .-:,  -  [-..,•>-- 

i  Rl  /fl    i 

ETi,  V   •   V       \ 

R2f^  fijlJ 

/A\;  .•     't  '        !    ^  S  - 



Adils  and  covered  all  over  with  armour  "  (Hrolf  Kraki  Saga, 
c.  44). 

"  There  were  four  stud  horses  of  Thorstein's  of  red  colour.  They 
looked  well  but  not  fully  broken.  Thorstein  offered  to  give 
him  the  horses,  but  Gunnlaug  said  he  needed  no  horses  as  he 
was  to  leave  Iceland.  Thereupon  they  rode  towards  the  stud 
horses,  there  was  a  gray  stallion  with  four  mares.  It  was  the 
best  stallion  in  Borgarijord  "  (Gunnlaug  Ormstunga,  c.  5). 

Kig.  708. — Runic  stone,  with  waggon  and  horse. — Near  Levede,  in  Gotland.1 

We  find  that  the  laws  contained  regulations  in  regard  to 
the  making  of  the  roads,  and  the  shutting  of  gates. 

"The  highroad  shall  be  so  broad  that  a  man  can  sit  on  a 
saddled  horse  and  put  his  spear-handle  on  the  ground  and  put 
his  thumb  as  high  up  as  he  can  and  the  spear  shall  be  one 
span  longer.  It  shall  be  laid  down  across  the  road.  It  shall 
not  be  broader  "  (Gulath). 

"  If  a  man  walks  through  the  gate  of  a  fence  he  who  opens 
it  shall  be  answerable  as  to  shutting  it.  If  cattle  or  horses  go 
inside  and  spoil  a  field  or  meadow,  then  the  opener  of  the  gate 
shall  pay  back  according  to  valuation  all  the  damage  made  " 

1  Another  stone  in  relief  has  been  found 
by  Prof.  Save,  nearly  12  feet  high,  at 
Larhrii,  in  the  northern  part  of  the  island 
of  Gotland  ;  of  the  same  horse-shoe  shape 

as  shown  here  and  on  p.  58,  with  repre- 
sentations of  ships,  horses,  and  the  eight- 
footed  horse  Sleipnir. 



Different  forms  of  graves — Picturesque  situation — Various  shapes  of  mounds — 
Bautastones — The  Hjortehammar  burial-ground — Stone-set  graves — Ship- 
form  graves — Triangular  graves — Anund's  mound. 

MOULDERING   bones  and  ashes  of  mightv  heroes  and   noble 

O          •/ 

women  now  forgotten  under  the  mounds,  or  in  the  graves 
made  hoary  by  the  centuries  that  shroud  you  by  their  oblivion, 
I  salute  you !  We  also  shall  be  forgotten. 

The  thousands  of  mounds,  cairns,  bautasteinar  (memorial 
stones)  and  graves  found  to  this  day  all  over  the  North  show 
the  high  veneration  the  earlier  English-speaking  tribes  had 
for  their  dead ;  these  mounds  or  cairns  are  always  situated  on 
some  conspicuous  place  by  the  coast,  from  which  a  magnificent 
view  can  often  be  had. 

We  have  already  treated  of  graves  at  some  length  with  special 
reference  to  the  age — stone,  bronze,  or  iron — to  which  they 
belonged,  and  also  with  relation  to  the  objects  found  in  them. 
Before,  however,  proceeding  to  speak  of  the  burial  customs  of 
the  Norsemen  it  may  be  well  to  give  some  further  idea  of  the 
various  classes  of  graves. 

Sweden  is  particularly  rich  in  these  mementoes  of  the  past, 
in  the  midst  of  which  the  high  roads  not  unfrequently  pass, 
forming  a  most  impressive  scene.  What  emotion  have  I  felt 
when  standing  upon  many  of  these  graves,  deeply  impressed 
by  the  beauty  or  loneliness  of  the  site  chosen  and  of  its 
surroundings  ;  perhaps  never  more  so  than  on  the  coast  of 
Bohuslan — the  Viken  of  yore.1  There  the  cairns  have  been 

1  In  Tanum  parish,  Bohuslan,  alone 
there  are  more  than  2,000  mounds,  the 
largest  being  about  300  feet  in  circum- 
fi-rriiee  ;  near  Upsala  nearly  600;  at 
Ultuna,  700. 

The  greatest  number  of  mounds  found 

in   any  one  spot  is  east   of  the  ancient 

liirka  Bjorko,  where  there  are  over  1, > 

of  them  ;  while  seven  graves,  as  will 
be  seen  in  the  course  of  the  narrative-, 
are  found  close  together. 



erected  on  the  summit  of  the*  bare  solid  rocky  bills  of  primary 
formation,  several  hundred  feet  above  tbe  level  of  the  water, 
and  overlooking  a  panorama  of  fjords,  sounds,  barren  islands 
and  desolate  coast,  with  tbe  open  seas  beyond,  and  with  the 
sun  sinking  below  the  horizon.  The  waves  strike  at  their 
base,  and  with  the  wind  sing  mournfully  a  requiem  over  the 
forgotten  dead ;  their  work  is  done,  the  glorious  mission  they 
had  to  accomplish  in  the  history  of  the  world  is  ended,  the 
mighty  drama  of  the  sword  is  closed. 

It  is  towards  evening,  before  the  twilight,  fades  gradually 

Fig.  709.  —('aim,  Bohuslan,  Sweden. 

into  darkness,  that  the  scene  of  this  weird  landscape  is  most 
impressive,  and  no  one  can  really  imagine  its  effects  until 
he  stands  upon  the  spot  and  sees  the  view  spread  before  him. 

In  some  parts  of  Norway  the  contrast  is  often  great  in  the 
extreme  ;  the  mounds  there  have  huge  mountains  in  the  back- 
ground with  their  summits  clad  in  snow,  and  in  the  foreground 
the  grand  open  sea.  One  of  the  bleakest  spots  in  the  country, 
where  these  have  been  erected,  is  on  the  flat  gravelly  coast  of 
Lyster,  which  lies  between  the  mountain  and  the  sea ; — there, 
over  the  last  resting-places  of  those  warriors,  the  wind  blows 


most  fearfully  in  winter-time,  and  the  sea  dashes  on  the  shore 
in  huge  foamy  white  waves. 

In  Denmark  and  parts  of  Sweden  there  are  places  on  the 
elevated  points  of  the  coast  full  of  charms,  looking  over  the 
Sound,  the  Cattegat,  the  Baltic,  or  the  waters  of  some  of  the 
great  lakes.  Many  of  these  resting-places  of  man  are  now 
covered  by  forests,  and  upon  some  of  the  mounds  huge  oaks 
sprung  from  the  acorn  of  their  sires  tell  forcibly  of  the 
centuries  that  have  passed  over  them. 

We  can  vividly  realise  why  the  people  laid  their  dead  to 

Fig.  710. — Grave,  Einang,  Norway;  diameter,  50  feet;  earlier  iron  age. 

rest  by  that  sea  they  loved  so  much  during  their  lifetime,  and 
upon  which  they  had  sailed  so  often.  The  mariner  as  he 
passed  by  could  behold  the  graves  of  the  dead  and  victorious 
champions,  whose  memory  was  always  kept  fresh  by  the  scalds 1 
who  sang  his  exploits  generation  after  generation,  thus  filling 
the  youth  of  the  country  with  pride,  and  making  them  wish  to 
emulate  the  deeds  of  these  men,  often  their  kinsmen  of  old, 
who  had  gone  to  Valhalla. 

The   mounds   and    cairns    are  not  always  round,   they   are 
sometimes    square,    oblong,  rectangular   or   triangular.      The 

1   Poets,  see  vol.  ii.  p.  389. 



round  mounds  and  cairns  exist  in  different  parts  of  the  world, 
and  in  Scandinavia  as  far  back  as  the  stone  and  bronze  ages ; 
the  vast  number  of  bautastones  seen  all  over  the  country 
shows  also  how  well  the  injunctions  of  Odin  were  carried  out 
by  his  followers  in  that  respect.  Some  of  these  are  very 
imposing,  and  their  dark  forms  look  weird  enough  against  the 
landscape  or  the  clear  or  gloomy  sky.  One  of  the  finest  stood 

Fig.  711. — Bautastone  ( from  grave  shown  on  p.  301)  with  nineteen  runes  ; -,1,  real  size  ; 
5  feet  8  inches  in  height ;  width,  3  feet  2  inches  ;  9  inches  thick  ;  length  of  runt1, 
2  feet  1J  inches. 

in  Brastod  parish,  Bohuslan,  now  lying  prostrate  and  broken, 
its  height  being  26  feet ;  and  its  place  was  on  one  corner  of  a 
stone  set  of  rectangular  graves  40  feet  in  length  and  28  feet 
in  width. 

DiFFi-:iu-:\r  /- 



Fig.  712. — Bautastone  on  a  muuud  linn  ted  in  circumference  and  7  feet  high, 
Runesten  Grimeton  (Bohuslan),  Hal  land  ;  19£  feet  high,  4|  feet  wide.  Sur- 
rounding it  are  mouiids  and  graves  of  various  shapes. 


ig.  713. — Oblong  mound,  Yttersala,  Sodermanland  ;  33  feet  in  diameter.     In  the 
vicinity  are  numerous  other  graves  of  various  shapes. 

Fig.  714. — Square  stone-set  grave.  Sodermanland. 























O    3 
*J     O 












VOL.  1. 



The  most  interesting  of  the  graveyards  which  I  have  seen  is 
that  of  Hjortehammar,  situated  in  the  province  of  Blekinge  on 
a  narrow  promontory  lost  in  the  maze  of  islands  which  dot  the 

pfSS^^-.S^'-iv.-'Lr  =3bfcw8ssi--s3a^SlSBf^graig^f 
Fig.  717. — Square  stone-set  graves  with  large  boulders  at  the  corners  and  centre. 

Fig.  718. — Triangular  grave  ;  sides  of  triangle  about  50  feet ;  corner  stones  about 
3  feet  high.  In  the  middle  of  the  sonth-west  sHe  are  two  stones,  5  feet  apart, 
with  a  slab  between  them,  one  3  feet,  the  other  4  feet  high.  Thorsbacken, 
Nerike,  Sweden. 

coast  of  Sweden  on  this  part  of  the  Baltic.  It  is  joined  now 
to  an  island  situated  near  its  further  end  by  a  causeway  and  a 
small  bridge.  This  is  not  only  remarkable  from  its  position 



and  size,  but  on  account  of  the  numerous  forms  of  graves  of 
various   sizes    it    con-  -  ;v^§kA,v: minTw A        

VA  • 

tains.  The  length  of 
the  cape  is  about 
1,200  feet,  and  its  greatest 
breadth  about  200  feet.  The 
engraving  gives  an  idea  of 
the  shape  and  size  of  the 
different  graves,  some  of 
which  are  shown  in  large 
scale.  This  cape  is  but  a 
continuation  of  a  ridge  full 
of  graves  ;  heather  and 
juniper  cover  many  of  them; 
and  well  chosen  was  this 
secluded  and  quiet  spot  for 
the  last  resting-place  of 
their  departed  kinsmen  or 

In  the  Haley  gjatal,  a 
poem  on  the  genealogy  of 
the  famous  Hakon  jarl, 
tracing  his  pedigree  to 
Odin,  there  is  a  passage 
which  recalls  the  burial- 
place  Hjortehammar. 

Straumeyjar-nes  which  is 


Round  the  Fylkir's2  body 

Is  widely  known. 

1  I    was    sorry    to    see    the    place 
being  gradually  destroyed,  the  gravel 
taken  away,  and  the   embankments, 
made  by   the  digging,    falling  down 
with  the  grave. 

2  Gudlaug,  Hakon's  ancestor. 

Fig.  719. — Hjortehammar  burial-ground, 
with  various  shaped  graves. 

x  2 



Fig.  720. — Vedby  ridge,  Blekiuge.  The  large 
stoues  are.  from  4  to  6  feet  high.  Length  of  each 
side,  40  feet. 

Fig.  721. — Stone-set  grave, 
Blekinge.     Length,  38  feet. 

Fig.  722. — Triangular  grave.  Sides  GO  to  65  feet  long,  with  a  small  elevation  in 
the  middle,  and  a  bautastone  nearly  5  feet  high  and  2  feet  6  inches  broad. 
Lyngstad,  Sb'dermanland. 

di;.\  r/:. 


Among  the  most  remarkable  and  not  uncommon  stone- 
set  graves  are  those  of  the  so-called  "ship-form  "  setting  ;  they 
belong  both  to  the  earlier  and  later  iron  age.  This  peculiar 
form  of  grave  is  found  on  the  peninsula  of  Scandinavia  and  on 


Fig.  723.— Blekinge.     Diameter,  30  feet.  Fig.  724.-Listerby  ridge,  Blekinge. 

Diameter,  18  feet. 
Stone-set  graves. 

" "--"" 'Lf-  %— —  ^*-'- 




*5fe?s-r.v>?--v  "  "•    •s^^~;"/\*"'^-^~^>m5?K- 

i".'f*T'"~'   a,'.c/".-r""  '     ''"V,tJ'''¥  *•''•-'  'v'"""^"'"'''*"^^'"  "'?*'? 

.^xrmf'P^-- .;  -  ."-'c^^gftfSS^Ji  »  :>  ^  -,'  -S^i"upr'  %'^sg?^J*>a 

J;^-" ;::; : :  "^?S^^ 


Fig.  725. — Graveyard  with  mounds  and  stone-set  graves  at  Ashy,  Sodermanland. 

the  islands  of  Gotland,  Oland,  and  other  islands  of  the  Baltic, 
in  Courland  and  Livonia,  and  was  also  erected  in  England 
and  Scotland  by  the  people  of  the  North. 

One  of  the  most  interesting  is  that  where  the  rowers'  seats 



are  marked,  and  even  a  stone  placed  in  the  position  of  the 

The  longest  ship-form  grave  which  I  think  is  known  is  one 
near  Kasberga,  a  fishing  village  in  the  southern  part  of 
Sweden,  with  a  length  of  212  feet  and  a  width  of  60  feet.  It 
is  made  by  thirty-eight  stones,  the  two  forming  the  prow 
being  12  and  18  feet  in  height  above  the  ground— the  latter 
being  the  northern  one. 

But  the  finest  of  all,  though  less  in  size,  is  the  famous  one 



Fig.  726. — Ship-form  grave,  Karums  parish,  Oland. 

of  Blomsholm,  near .  Stromstad,  the  whole  neighbourhood  of 
which  is  surrounded  with  mementoes  of  the  past — graves, 
dorn-rings,  mounds,  bautastones,  and  rock-tracings.1 

1  At  Eds,  Upland,  there  is  a  very  fine 
ship-form  grave  of  twenty-eight  stones, 
182  feet  long  and  50  feet  wide.  The 
largest  stone  at  one  end  is  9  feet  in 
height,  and  is  evidently  a  bautastone ; 
the  rest,  although  large,  each  measuring 
several  feet  in  circumference,  are  common 
boulders.  At  the  centre  of  the  ship  there 
lies  a  similar  stone,  where,  as  well  as  at 
the  ends,  there  is  a  small  mound-like 

In  the  woods  at  Braidfloar,  between 
Levide  and  Sproge  in  Gotland,  there  is  a 
ship-form  grave  144  feet  long,  but  only 
16  feet  at  its  widest  part;  the  stones, 
however,  are  small,  none  being  higher 
than  3  feet. 

At  Lungersas,  Gotland,  Nerike,  there 
is  a  ship-form  grave  in  which  stands  a 
stone  with  an  inscription  in  later  runes. 

There  is  also  a  bautastone  with  runes, 
in  one  end  of  a  ship-form  at  Lilla  Lund- 
ley  in  Lids,  Sodermauland,  upon  which 
are  the  words  ''  Spjute  «nd  Hcdfdan  raised 
this  stone  after  Skarde  their  brother.  He 

went  eastward  with  Roar.  In  Serklaivi 
lies  the  son."  (See  p.  356  Yellow  Book, 
Den  yngre  jernalder.) 

A  ship-form  grave  between  the  post- 
stations  of  Ljungby  and  Hamneda  pro- 
vince of  Kronobergs  is  92  feet  long  and 
32  feet  broad  ;  the  neighbourhood  is  full 
of  grave-mounds  and  bautastones. 

Another  near  the  shore  "of  the  Baltic, 
in  Eista  parish,  Gotland,  is  50  feet  by 
13  feet.  A  third,  on  the  island  of  Farti, 
near  Gotland,  is  50  feet  bv  8  feet. 

We  see  by  this  that  their  breadth 
does  not  always  bear  the  same  proportion 
to  their  length. 

In  two  ship  forms  at  H  jortehammar,  in 
Blekinge,  there  were  found  burned  bones, 
ashes,  two  of  the  bowl-shaped  fibulae  of 
bronze  so  common  during  the  later  iron 
age,  a  round  fibula  of  silver,  some  glass 
bends,  &c. 

In  one  at  Raftotaiigen,  in  Tanum 
parish,  was  an  urn  rilled  with  ashes,  oil 
the  top  of  which  lay  a  finely  ornamented 
damascened  sword  of  the  later  iron  age. 

B  L  OMSHOLM  OKA  \  ~E. 














00    g 
<N    C 

.^    o> 

a,    w 


E  fc 












Fig.  729. — Type  of  Mound  with  bautastone  at  the  top  and  circle  ot 
stones  at  the  base. 



}K^&$-^£l**^%j&''?'*;  ^S^^^Sr- 

•-$&$&".^%&.]V7$'  .  .V*  :'*;*:ffi$jj$f 

^    V 

Fig.  730.— Mound,  3  feet  high,  with  bautastone,  Balunda  parish,  Westmanland. 



Fig.  731. — Triangular  graves;  stone  forming  tne  apex,  with  runes,  is  about  25  feet 
from  the  two  others,  which  are  14  feet  apart — Bjb'rktorp,  Blekiuge. 

Fig.  732. — Incomplete  mound  ;  50  feet  in  circumference ;   10  feet  high  ;  largest 
stone  over  6  feet  high ;  in  Thortuna  parish,  Westmanland. 



•1 . ?&-•••  1-  rfiSi 

Fig.  733. — Mounds  on  Kjula-ridge.  Sodermanland. 

Fig.  734. — Mound  set  with  boulder-stones,  Dalsland ;  circumference  of  boulders, 
100  feet;  height  of  mound,  4  feet,  on  the  top  of  which  are  two  tlat  stones 
standing  on  edges.  Near  it  is  a  boulder  stone-setting,  probably  a  dom-ring. 



Many  of  the  cairns,  which  are  often  beautifully  arranged, 
are  small,  being  4  or  5  feet  in  height,  or  sometimes  almost 
even  with  the  ground,  their  diameter  varying  from  20  to 
80  feet.  Numbers  of  them  have  stone-settings,  sometimes 
close,  sometimes  not. 

Fig.  735. — Diameter,  20  feet.     Fig.  736. — Diameter,  16  feet.  Fig.  737. — Diameter,  16  feet. 

Cairns — Blekinge. 

Fig.  738. — Round  cairn  at  Bjorkeby,  Foresund,  Sbdermanland. 

S^Ks-  >  fj_         --is~~ ^a 

Fig.  739. — Square  cairn,  island  of  Oland. 

KJXG  AXVXlfS  M(H'\I>. 







-t  -3 
X     g 

10  a 

fO     3 







One  of  the  most  interesting  graves  which  have  been  recently 
opened  in  England  is  one  belonging  to  the  manor  of  Taplow, 
near  Maidenhead,  about  fifty  miles  by  river  above  London. 
The  mound,  240  feet  in  circumference,  and  15  feet  high, 
overlooks  the  Thames  and  the  surrounding  lands. 

Among  the  objects  were  two  shield  bones,  one  sword, 
fragments  of  others,  fragments  of  a  spear  head,  one  bronze 
vessel,  one  wooden  bucket  so  common  in  the  graves  of  the 
North,  with  bronze  hoops,  &c.,  two  pairs  of  glass  vessels  (one 

Fig.  741. — Gold  fibula  ornamented 
with  garnets  and  red  glass,  jj  real 
size.  Taplow,  England. 

Fig.  742. — Fibula  of  bronze, 
J  real  size,  the  edge  of  the 
triangle  and  nail  heads 
of  bronze,  the  middle  a 
thin  silver  plate.  Found 
in  a  mound  with  14  urns 
and  burned  bones,  a  spear 
point  of  iron,  &c.  Zealand, 

of  which  is  here  represented)  similar  to  one  found  with  a 
burial  ship  in  Void  in  Norway,  forty  checkers,  two  pairs  of 
ornaments  for  drinking  horns  (all  of  silver  gilt),  one  green 
glass  bead,  &c.  &c. ;  a  fibula  of  the  same  form  as  those  of  the 
North.  But  the  most  remarkable  article  was  a  quantity  of 
gold  thread  belonging  to  a  garment,  the  triangular  form  oi 
the  pattern  still  remaining. 

This  grave,  like  the  one  of  King  Gorm  of  Denmark  and 
several  others  of  the  North,  is  in  the  old  churchyard  where 
the  ancient  parish  church  stood.  On  the  slope  of  the  mound 



itself  several  Christian  graves  are  seen.  The  viking,  like  smnr 
of  the  chiefs  of  the  North,  was  probably  buried  on  his  est;i ir- 
on the  land  that  had  descended  to  him  through  his  ancestors 

Fig.  743. — Vessel  of  green  glass. 
§  real  size.  Taplow,  England. 
11  inches  in  heiht. 

Fig.  744.— Ornament  of  silver  gilt, 
showing  end  of  drinking  horn.  £  real 

1  1  V 

<*-5  p  -iy 




Fig.  745. — Silver  gilt  ornamentation  for 
mouth  of  drinking  horn.  ^  real  size. 
The  horn  itself,  found  in  a  mass  of  small 
fragments.  Taplow,  England. 

or  which  possibly  he  might  have  conquered  from  some  of  his 
foes.  These  antiquities  by  their  form  seem  to  belong  to  the 
later  iron  age. 



The  two  modes  of  burial — Burning  of  the  dead  on  the  pyre — The  law  of 
Odin — Ceremonies  after  death — Laws  and  superstitions  connected  with 
the  dead — The  journey  to  Hel — The  burial  of  Sigurd  and  Brynhild— 
Burial  on  waggons — Burial  of  weapons  with  the  dead — Burials  in  ships 
—The  Gokstad  ship's  sepulchral  chamber — The  Moklebust  mound. 

THE  Ecldas  and  Sagas  abound  with  descriptions  of  funeral 
rites  and  burials,  the  accuracy  of  which  is  most  fully  vindicated 
by  the  finds. 

Two  modes  of  burial  were  prevalent  among  the  people,  one 
that  of  burning  the  dead,  the  other  of  burying  them  unburned.1 

It  was  the  belief  of  the  people  that  the  dead  burned  on  the 
pyre  would  go  to  Valhalla  with  all  the  weapons  and  wealth 
burned  with  them,  and  that  these  would  afterwards  resume 
their  original  shapes.  Horses,  dogs,  falcons,  or  other  animals 
which  the  deceased  had  liked,  were  often  added,  and  some- 
times some  of  his  thralls  were  killed  and  burned  on  the  pyre 
with  him. 

"  Odin  enacted  the  same  laws  in  his  land  as  had  formerly 
prevailed  with  the  Asar.  Thus  he  ordered  that  all  dead  men 
should  be  burned,  and  on  their  pyre  should  be  placed  their 
property.  He  said  thus :  that  with  the  same  amount  of 
wealth  should  they  come  to  Valhalla  as  they  had  on  the  pyre; 
that  they  should  also  enjoy  what  they  had  themselves  buried 
in  the  ground.  But  the  ashes  should  be  thrown  into  the  sea 
or  buried  in  the  earth  ;  that  over  great  men  mounds  should 
be  raised,  as  memorials  ;  and  over  men  who  had  some  manful- 
ness  bautasteinar  should  be  erected,  and  this  custom  was 
observed  for  a  long  time  "  (Ynglinga  Saga,  c.  8). 

"  It  was  the  custom  of  powerful  men,  whether  kings  or  jarls, 

1  Such  expressions  occur  as  "i  haug  lagdr,"  mound  laid  ;   "  heygdiy'  mounded. 


at  that  time  to  learn  warfare  and  win  wealth  and  fame;  that 
property  should  not  be  counted  with  the  inheritance,  nor 
should  sons  get  it  after  fathers,  but  it  should  be  placed  in  the 
mound  with  themselves  "  (Vatnsdaela,  21). 

"The  first  age  is  called  the  age  of  burning  ;  then  all  dead 
men  were  burned  and  bautastones  raised  after  them.  llut 
after  Frey  had  been  mound-laid  at  Uppsalir  many  chiefs 
raised  mounds  as  well  as  bautastones  to  the  memory  of  their 
kinsmen.  Afterwards  King  Dan  the  Proud  had  his  own 

VSSMfRSKxiaxSlwi^irLV'i)  WvjSfl !^  a?  t*'vi  ;"wuf^vj  *.»  iftj  v*v)  v<nvJ/i'.y 

Fig.  746. — Largest  pavement  of  pyre,  33  feet  in  diameter. — Brnliolm,  Fyen, 


mound  made,  and  bade  that  he  and  also  his  horse  with  the 
saddle  on  and  much  property  should  be  carried  to  it  when 
dr;id  in  king's  state  and  in  war-dress.  Many  of  his  kinsmen 
did  the  same  afterwards,  and  the  mound-age  began  in  Den- 
mark. But  the  burning  age  lasted  a  long  time  after  that  with 
the  Northmen  and  the  Swedes  "  (Prologue  of  Heimskringla ). 

"  The  first  age  was  the  one  when  all  dead  men  were  to  be 
burnt.  Then  the  mound -age  began  when  all  powerful  men 
were  laid  in  mounds  and  all  common  people  buried  in  the 
ground  "  (St.  Olaf  s  Saga.  Prologue). 

VOL.    I.  Y 


As  we  read  the  Sagas  we  get  a  vivid  and  impressive  idea  of 
the  grand  and  solemn  pageant  that  must  have  taken  place 
when  the  body  of  a  great  warrior  was  put  on  the  funeral  pile, 
and  his  companions  in  arms,  relatives  or  former  foes  bid  him 
happy  speed  to  Valhalla,  as  the  names  ascended  high  up 
towards  the  sky,  or  the  ship  sailed  from  the  land  in  a  lurid 
blaze,  while  the  purifying  fire  was  consuming  the  corpse. 
Then  followed  the  ceremony  of  carefully  gathering  the  charred 
bones,  which  were  sacredly  preserved  in  an  urn  or  valuable 

The  first  duty  to  the  dead  was  to  close  the  eyes  and  mouth 
and  pinch  together  the  nostrils,  which  ceremony  was  called 

Ninthly  I  advise  thee 

To  take  care  of  corpses 2 

Wherever  on  earth  thou  findest  them : 

Whether  they  die  from  disease, 

Or  are  drowned, 

Or  killed  in  battle, 

Let  a  bath  be  made3 

For  those  who  are  dead  ; 

Wash  their  hands  and  head, 

Comb  and  dry  them 

Ere  they  are  laid  in  the  coffin, 

And  bid  them  sleep  happily. 


It  appears  to  have  been  a  case  of  outlawry  not  to  cover 
a  body  with  mould,  and  if  a  slayer  maimed  the  body  of  his 
enemy  when  dead  he  was  fined.  The  body  seems  to  have 
been  left  on  a  cover  until  they  could  lay  it  in  the  mound. 

"  No  man  shall  have  a  dead  man  longer  than  five  days  in 
his  house  except  in  a  necessity,  such  as  if  there  is  impassable 
ice  or  a  snowstorm.  Then  it  shall  be  taken  to  an  outhouse 
and  covered  with  timbers  or  straw,  and  removed  as  soon  as  the 
weather  is  good  "  (Eidsivathing  law  II.  41). 

If  the  deceased  had  during  life  been  a  wild  and  unruly  man, 
fierce  in  temper,  who  it  was  feared  might  after  death,  as  a 

1  There  seem  to  have  been  special 
places  built  for  the  burning  of  the  dead. 
On  the  island  of  Kyen,  not  far  from 
Broholm,  and  about  1,200  yards  from 
the  numerous  graves,  are  two  sites  of 
pyres,  round  in  shape,  aboiit  120  yards 
distant  from  each  other.  The  pavement, 
about  7  inches  in  thickness,  is  made  of 
cobble  stones  of  the  size  of  a  man's  fist 
set  very  close  together,  and  broken  into 
sharp  angles.  The  stones,  especially 

those  in  the  middle,  have  been  exposed 
to  the  action  of  fire,  but  have  been  pre- 
served by  being  covered  with  earth  that 
had  gathered  over  them  brought  by  wind 
and  rain  in  the  course  of  centuries. 

2  Nabjargir. 

3  In  Sigrdrifumal   the   texts    have   in 
stanza  34  fc(M<7  =  bath,  and  /iau<:/  =  mound. 
The  letters  h  and  /  being  very  like  in  the 
manuscripts,  we    can    choose   whichever 
we  like  best  of  the  two. 

11EFORE  Ul'RIAL.  323 

ghost,  cause  trouble  in  the  house  where  he  had  lived,  some 
very  peculiar  ceremonies  were  observed.  The  person  who  was 
to  perform  the  nabjargir  did  not  approach  the  body  from  the 
front,  but  from  behind,  and  closed  the  eyes,  and  not  till  then 
did  any  one  else  venture  to  approach  to  prepare  it  for  funeral. 
Such  a  corpse  was  not  carried  out  of  the  house  through  one  of 
the  usual  entrances,  but  a  hole  was  broken  in  the  wall  behind 
it,  through  which  it  was  carried  backward. 

"Snorri  godi  (temple  priest),  the  great  chief,  had  'received 
a  forest  from  Thorolf  Boagifot  (lame-loot),  who  wanted  to  get  it 

"  Thorolf  Buegifot  (after  visiting  his  son  to  get  his  help  in 
this  matter)  came  home  in  the  evening,  and  spoke  to  no  one. 
He  *sat  down  in  his  high-seat,  but  did  not  eat  that  evening. 
He  sat  there  when  the  people  went  to  sleep,  and  in  the 
morning  when  they  rose  Thorolf  still  sat  there,  and  was  dead. 
The  housewife  sent  a  man  to  his  son  Arnkel  to  tell  him  the 
death  of  Thorolf.  Arnkel  rode  to  Hvamm  with  some  of  his 
servants,  and  saw  that  his  father  sat  dead  in  the  high-seat. 
All  the  people  were  full  of  fear,  for  all  thought  there  was 
something  frightful  in  his  death.  Arnkel  went  into  the  hall 
and  in  along  the  seats  to  the  back  of  Thorolf;  he  bid  every 
man  to  beware  of  walking  in  front  of  him  while  the  nabjargir 
had  not  been  performed.  Arnkel  then  took  hold  of  the 
shoulders  of  Thorolf,  and  he  had  to  use  his  strength  ere 
he  could  lay  him  down.  Then  he  wrapped  a  cloth  around 
his  head,  and  prepared  his  corpse  for  burial  according  to 
custom.  Thereupon  he  had  the  wall  broken  behind  him, 
and  got  him  out  there.  Then  oxen  were  yoked  to  a  sledge, 
on  which  Thorolf  was  placed,  and  driven  up  to  the  valley 
of  Thorsa  ;  but  he  was  not  easily  brought  to  the  place  where 
he  should  be.  There  they  buried  him  carefully.  After 
the  death  of  Thorolf  many  thought  it  bad  to  be  out  of  doors 
after  the  sun  had  set ;  and  as  the  summer  was  about  to 
close,  they  became  aware  that  Thorolf  did  not  rest  quiet,  for 
then  men  could  never  be  at  peace  outside  after  sunset.  In 
the  spring,  Arnkel  took  Thorolf  s  body  out  on  a  ness,  and 
there  buried  it  anew.  He  had  a  fence  made  across  the  cape 
above  the  grave,  so  high  that  nothing  but  a  flying  bird  could 
get  over  it  There  Thorolf  lay  as  long  as  Arukel  lived,  but 
when  he  afterwards  again  became  troublesome  his  body  was 
burned, and  the  ashes  thrown  into  the  sea"  (Eyrbyggja,  c. 33).1 

1  Cf.  also  Evil's  Saga,  c   61. 

Y    2 

324  BURIALS. 

The  ceremony  was  sometimes  considered  as  an  incitement 
for  the  performer  to  avenge  the  dead. 

Hoskuld,  an  illegitimate  son  of  Njal  and  Hrodny,  was 
attacked  by  six  men  on  his  way  home  and  slain.  Hrodny 's 
shepherd  found  the  corpse  and  told  her.  They  went  during 
the  night  to  Njal's  farm,  Bergthorshval. 

"  Then  they  both  walked  to  the  house  and  knocked  at  the 
door.  A  hiiskarl  opened  the  door.  She  .  .  .  went  to  Njal's 
bed.  She  asked  if  Njal  was  awake.  He  answered :  '  I  have 
slept  till  now,  but  now  I  am  awake,  and  why  art  thoti  here  so 
early  ? '  She  said  :  '  Rise  from  the  bed  of  my  rival  and  walk 
out  with  me,  with  her,  and  with  thy  sons.'  They  rose  and 
went  out.  Skarphedin  (Njal's  son)  said :  '  Let  us  take  our 
weapons  with  us.'  Njal  said  nothing ;  they  ran  in  and  came 
out  armed  with  their  weapons.  Hrodny  walked  in  front  till 
they  came  to  the  sheephouse.  She  went  in  and  told  them  to 
follow  her.  She  took  a  creeping  light  (lantern)  and  said: 
'  Here,  Njal,  is  thy  son  Hoskuld.  He  has  got  many  wounds 
and  now  needs  to  be  healed.'  Njal  said :  '  I  see  marks  of 
death  on  him  but  no  marks  of  life.  Why  hast  thou  not  given 
him  nabjargir  as  his  nostrils  are  open  ? '  She  answered  :  '  I 
intended  that  for  Skarphedin.'  Skarphedin  walked  to  the 
corpse  and  performed  the  nabjargir.  Then  he  said  to  his 
father:  '  Who,  sayest  thou,  has  slain  him?'  Njal  answered: 
'  Lyting  of  Samsstadir  with  his  brothers  has  probably  slain 
him.'  Hrodny  said :  'I  intrust  it  to  thy  hands,  Skarphedin, 
to  avenge  thy  brother.  I  expect  thou  wilt  do  thyself  honour 
though  he  is  not  legitimate,  and  that  thou  wilt  take  the 
revenge  into  thy  hands '  '  (Njala,  c.  98). 

Before  putting  a  body  in  the  mound  liel  shoes  were  put  on 
for  the  journey  to  Hell. 

"  Thereafter  Gisli  and  all  his  household  made  ready  for  the 
mounding  of  Vestein,  his  brother-in-law.  He  intended  to  mound 
him  in  the  sand  plain  ....  below  Srebol.  When  they  were 
on  their  way  with  the  corpse  Thorgrim  with  many  men  joined 
him.  When  they  had  made  the  mound  Thorgrim  godi  walked 
to  Gisli  and  said  :  It  is  now  the  custom,  brother-in-law,  to  tie 
Hel-shoes  on  the  feet  of  men  before  they  are  mound-laid. 
For  it  was  said  that  they  (the  shoes)  should  go  to  Hel  when 
the  man  was  dead,  and  therefore  a  man  who  dresses  much 
when  he  goes  out,  or  is  long  in  dressing,  is  said  to  prepare  for 
Hel.  Thorgrim  said  :  I  will  do  this  with  Vestein  and  tie  the 
Hel-shoes  on  his  feet.  When  he  had  done  it,  he  said  :  I  know 



not    how    to    tie    Hel-shoes    if  these   are    unfastened''    (G-is 
Siirsson's  Saga). 

In  the  weird  description  of  the  burial  of  Sigurd  and  JJryn- 
hild1  we  see  that  the  mound  was  reddened  with  blood,  and 
that  human  beings  were  burned  with  them  on  the  pyre. 

When  we  both 

Stepped  into  one  bed 
And  were  called 
Husband  and  wife. 

I  will  ask  of  thee 

( )nly  one  boon  ; 

It  will  in  the  world 

My  last  one  be  ; 

Let  so  wide  a  burgh 

Be  raised  on  the  plain 

That  under  us  all 

It  be  equally  roomy, 

Beneath  us  all  who  shall  die 

With  Sigurd. 

Surround  that  burgh 

With  tents  and  shields, 

With  welsh  linen,  finely  painted, 

And  Welsh  people  (thralls)  ; 

Burn  the  Hunuish  one2 

At  my  one  side. 

Burn  at  the  other  side 
Of  the  Hunuish  one 
My  servants, 
With  good  necklaces, 
Two  at  his  head 
And  two  hawks  ; 
Then  all  is 
Equally  shared. 

Let  there  yet  lie  between  us 
A  ring-wound  weapon,3 
A  sharp-edged  iron 
As  it  before  was  laid, 

1  In  Brynhild's  ride  to  Hel  we  have  a 
different  account: — 

"  After  the  death  of  Brynhild  two 
pyres  were  made,  one  for  Sigurd,  which 
was  first  set  on  fire,  but  Brynhild  was 
burned  on  the  other  and  was  in  a  car- 
riage tented  with  god-weh  (a  kind  of 
fine  cloth).  It  is  told  that  Brynhild 
drove  in  the  carriage  on  the  road  of  Hel, 
and  went  through  the  tun  where  the 
jo'tuu-woman  dwelt."  (Ht-1-reid  Bryn- 

-   Sigurd. 

The  shining  hall-d-or, 
The  ring-ornamented  * 
Will  not  then 
Strike  him  on  the  heel5 
If  my  retinue 
Follows  him  hence ; 
Then  our  journey 
Will  not  be  poor. 

For  there  follow  him 
Five  bond-maids, 
Eight  servants, 
Of  good  kin, 
My  bond -nurse, 
And  the  inheritance6 
Which  Budli  gave 
To  his  child. 

Much  have  I  told, 

More  would  I  tell, 

If  fate 

Gave  more  time  for  speaking  ; 

My  voice  decreases, 

My  wounds  swell, 

I  told  only  truth.7 

Now  I  will  cease. 

(Third  Sung  of  Sigurd.) 

3  Sec-  Volsuuga,  ch.  20  and  31. 

4  Probably  on  account  of  the  ring  on 
the  door,  as  fine  doors  were  ornamented 
with  them. 

5  We  will  follow  on  his  heels,  so  that 
the  door  will  not  be  shut  after  he  enters. 
but  be  open  while  we  enter. 

6  The    inheritance — wealth,    treasure, 
dowry,  &i:.,  ^:c. 

'  In  the  preceding  stanzas  she  has 
foretold  the  fate  of  Gudrun,  Gunnar  and 
Hogni,  as  is  told  in  Volsunga. 


Another  custom  no  less  imposing  was  to  bury  the  chiefs 
with  their  carriages  and  horses,  so  that  they  might  make  their 
entries  driving  into  Valhalla,  or  riding  on  horseback  ;  and  it 
was  considered  honourable  to  go  to  Odin  with  many  slain. 

"The  second  day  after  the  battle  (of  Bravoll),  in  the  morn- 
ing, King  Hring  caused  a  search  to  be  made  among  the  slain 
for  the  body  of  King  Harald,  his  kinsman,  and  a  great  part  of 
the  slain  host  lay  on  the  top  of  it.  It  was  mid-day  before 
the  search  was  completed  and  it  was  found.  King  Hring  took 
the  body  of  his  kinsman,  and  washed  the  blood  from  it,  pre- 
pared it  magnificently,  according  to  old  custom,  and  laid  it  in 
the  waggon  which  King  Harald  had  in  the  battle.  He  then 
raised  a  large  mound,  and  caused  the  body  to  be  carried  in  the 
same  waggon  with  the  horse  which  King  Harald  had  in  the 
battle,  and  thus  he  had  him  driven  to  the  mound.  There  the 
horse  was  killed.  Then  King  Hring  took  the  saddle  he  him- 
self had  ridden  on  and  gave  it  to  King  Harald  his  kinsman, 
and  bade  him  do  as  he  liked,  either  ride  to  Valhalla  or 
drive.  He  held  a  great  feast  to  celebrate  the  going  away 
of  his  kinsman.  Before  the  mound  was  closed,  King  Hring 
bade  all  his  high-born  men  and  champions  who  were  present 
to  throw  into  the  mound  large  rings  (gold  and  silver)  and 
good  weapons,  to  honour  King  Harald  Hilditonn,  and  the 
mound  was  carefully  closed  "  (Sogubrot  of  Fornkonungum).1 

If  circumstances  allowed,  the  deceased  seems  to  have  been 
placed  on  a  bed  prepared  for  the  purpose,  until  the  burial 
could  take  place. 

"  Glrim  also  went  home  with  his  men,  and  had  the  dead 
carried  into  an  outhouse,  where  Thorvald's  body  was  prepared 
more  honourably  than  the  others,  for  clothes  were  laid  under 
him,  and  he  was  sewed  up  in  a  skin "  (Viga  Gliim's  Saga, 
c.  23). 

In  a  large  burial  chamber  at  Lower  A ure,  Norway,  were 
found  the  remains  of  a  chair,  thus  confirming  the  accounts 
of  the  Sagas  about  men  being  placed  on  their  chair  in  the 
grave.  Some  of  these  chambers  were  occasionally  built  of 

"  Aran,  a  foster-brother  of  Asmund,  died  suddenly.  Asmund 
had  a  mound  raised  over  him,  and  placed  at  his  side  his  horse 

For  battle,  see  Vol.  ii.,  p.  436. 

BUIilAL    WITH  HOUSE  HUES*,    ETC.  327 

with  saddle  and  bridle,  his  standards,  and  all  war-dress,  his 
hawk  and  dog.  Aran  sat  on  a  chair  in  all  his  armour.  Asmund 
let  his  chair  be  put  into  the  mound  and  sat  down  upon  it,  and 
then  the  mound  was  closed.  The  first  night  Aran  rose  from 
the  chair,  killed  the  hawk  and  the  dog,  and  ate  them  both. 
The  second  night  he  rose,  killed  the  horse  and  cut  it  to  pieces, 
tearing  it  much  with  his  teeth;  he  ate  the  horse,  the  blood 
streaming  down  from  his  mouth  ;  .he  invited  Asmund  to  eat 
with  him.  The  third  night  Asmund  began  to  feel  sleepy  : 
and  suddenly  Aran  seized  his  ears  and  tore  them  off.  Then 
Asmund  drew  his  sword,  and  cut  Aran's  head  off;  and  afterwards 
burned  him  to  ashes.  He  thereupon  went  to  the  rope  and  was 
drawn  up,  and  the  mound,  was  closed;  Asmund  took  with  him 
the  property  which  had  been  placed  in  the  mound ':  (Egil 
and  Asmund's  Saga,  c.  7). 

"Angantyr  had  a  large  mound  raised  below  the  Havacla- 
mountains,  at  the  place  where  the  king  had  been  slain.  It 
was  built  with  timber,  and  was  very  strong"  (Hervarar  Saira, 
c.  16). 

Sometimes  the  body  of  a  man  was  divided  into  several 
portions,  and  each  of  these  buried  in  different  parts  of  the 

"  While  he  (Halfdan)  was  king  there  were  very  good  years. 
The  people  made  so  much  of  him  that  when  they  heard  he 
was  dead,  and  that  his  body  had  been  taken  to  Hringariki  to 
be  buried  there,  powerful  men  from  Raumariki,  Vestfold  and 
Heidmork  came,  and  all  asked  for  leave  to  take  his  body  and 
mound  it  in  their  fylki  ;l  they  thought  that  those  who  got  it 
were  likely  to  have  good  seasons.  They  agreed  to  divide  the 
body  in  four  pieces,  and  the  head  was  mounded  at  Stein  in 
Hringariki ;  the  others  took  their  pieces  home  and  mounded 
them,  and  they  are  all  of  them  called  the  mounds  of  Halfdan 
(in  Snorri's  time)  "  (Halfdan  the  Black's  Saga,  ch.  9  (Heim- 

Friends  often  wished  to  be  buried  near  each  other,  for  they 
believed  that  their  spirits  could  talk  to  each  other  or  look  over 
their  household  before  important  events  occurred. 

"  Then  Thorstein  fell  sick.  He  said  to  Fridthjof :  'My  sou, 
I  beg  of  thee  that  thou  wilt  yield  to  the  king's  sons  with 
regard  to  thy  temper,  for  that  befits  thee  on  account  of  their 
dignity,  and  I  have  good  hope  of  thee.  I  want  to  be  laid  in  a 

1   A  division  of  land. 

328  BURIALS. 

mou ml  opposite  to  King  Beli,  on  this  side  of  the  fjord,  near 
the  sea,  for  then  it  will  be  easy  for  us  to  call  to  each  other 
before  great  events.'  The  foster-brothers  of  Fridthjof  were 
Bjorn  and  Asmnnd  ;  they  were  tall  and  strong  men.  A  short 
time  after  Thorstein  died  ;  he  was  mounded  as  he  had  pre- 
scribed, and  Fridthjof  got  his  land  and  personal  property  " 
(Fridthjof's  Saga,  c.  1). 

Several  persons  were  often  buried  in  the  same  mound ;  and 
after  a  battle  many  of  the  slain  were  buried  together. 

"After  this  Hjalmar  died.  Odd  then  placed  the  Berserks 
in  a  heap,  and  piled  upon  them  boughs.  This  was  near  the 
sea.  He  put  with  them  their  weapons  and  clothing,  divesting 
them  of  nothing.  He  covered  this  with  turf  and  cast  sand 
over  it.  He  then  took  Hjalmar  on  his  back,  carried  him  to 
the  sea,  and  laid  him  down  on  the  shore.  He  went  out  on  the 
ships,  took  ashore  every  one  who  had  fallen,  and  there  threw 
up  another  mound  over  his  men.  It  is  said  by  those  who  have 
gone  thither,  that  to  this  day  are  seen  those  mounds  which 
Odd  there  made  "  (Orvar  Odd's  Suga,  c.  14). L 

"  On  the  following  morning  Hrolf  had  the  field  cleared,  and 
divided  the  booty  among  his  men.  There  were  raised  three 
very  large  mounds.  In  one  Hrolf  placed  his  father  Sturlaug 
and  Krak,  H rain's  brother  and  all  the  best  champions  of  their 
host  who  had  fallen.  In  that  mound  were  put  gold  and  silver 
and  good  weapons,  and  all  was  well  performed.  In  the  second 
was  placed  King  Eirik,  Brynjolf  and  Thord  and  their  picked 
men.  In  the  third  was  Grim  ^Egir,  near  the  shore,  where  it 
was  thought  least  likely  that  ships  would  approach.  The 
warriors  were  buried  where  they  had  fallen  '  (Gongu  Hrolf  s 
Saga,  ch.  34). 

From  many  descriptions  we  see  with  what  awe  the  ancient 
Vikings  regarded  the  mounds  under  which  renowned  chiefs 
were  buried.  Over  the  mounds  of  great  warriors  flames  were 
seen  at  night,  and  the  ghost  of  the  departed  was  believed  to 
remain  there. 

When  the  burning  did  not  take  place,  the  warrior  was  buried 
with  his  weapons  and  entire  equipment.  Sometimes  he  slept 
with  his  sword  under  his  head.  Angantyr's  shoulders  rested 
upon  the  famous  sword  Tyrfiny,  and  Angrim's  sons  were 
buried  there  in  that  manner.  Many  of  the  weapons  placed 

1  Of.  also  Goiigu  Hrolf's  Saga,  c.  3. 

SUPEKST!TK>.\s    A  li<  H  T  Mof'XDS. 


with  tliem  were  very  famous  and  supposed  to  possess  special 
or  supernatural  qualities,  and  mounds  were  sometimes  broken 
for  the  sake  of  getting 

"  A  little  after  she  (the  Amazon  Hervor)  left  by  herself  in  a 
man's  dress  and  weapons  and  went  to  Vikings,  and  was  with 
them  for  awhile,  and  was  called  Hervard.  A  little  after  the 
chief  of  the  Vikings  died,  and  Hervard  got  the  command  of 
them.  Once  they  came  to  Samsey.  Hervard  went  up  on  land, 
and  none  of  his  men  wanted  to  follow  him,  for,  they  said,  it 
would  not  do  for  any  man  to  stay  out  there  at  night.  Hervard 
said  that  much  property  was  likely  to  be  in  the  mounds,  and 
went  up  on  the  island  near  sunset.  They  lay  in  Muuarvag. 
She  met  a  herd-bo v  there,  and  asked  him  about  news.  He 


said,  'Dost  thou  not  know  the  island  ?  Come  home  with  me, 
for  it  will  not  do  for  any  man  to  stay  out  here  after  sunset; 
I  am  going  home  at  once.'  Hervard  replied  :  '  Tell  me  ;  where 
are  the  mounds  of  Hjorvard  ?  '  The  boy  said  :  '  Thou  art  un- 
wise, as  thou  wantest  to  search  for  that  at  night  which  few- 
dare  search  for  at  mid-day  ;  burning  fire  plays  on  the  mounds 

•/  Q  1  •/ 

after  sunset.'  Hervard  replied  he  would  certainly  go  to  the 
mounds.  The  shepherd  said  :  '  I  see  that  thou  art  a  bold  man, 
though  thou  art  unwise.  I  will  give  thee  my  necklace  if  thou 
wilt  come  home  with  me.'  Hervard  answered  :  '  Though  thou 
\\oiildst  give  me  all  thou  ownest  thou  couldst  not  hinder  me 
from  going.'  When  the  sun  set  they  heard  hollow  noises  in 
the  island,  and  the  mound  fires  appeared.  The  shepherd  got 
frightened  and  took  to  his  feet,  and  ran  into  the  forest  as 
quickly  as  he  could,  and  never  looked  back." 

As  she  comes  by  the  mound  she  sings  :— 

Awake,  Angantyr! 

Hervor  thee  rouses, 

The  only  daughter 

Of  thee  and  Svafa  ; 

Yield  to  me  from  the  mound 

The  sharp  sword 

Which  the  Dvergar 

For  Svafrlami  forged. 

Hjorvard !  Hervard ! 
Hrani !  Angantyr  ! 
I  awaken  you  all 
Beneath  the  tree-roots, 
Who  are  clad  in 
Helmet  and  coat  of  mail 

With  shield  and  sharp  sword, 
And  reddened  spear. 

Sons  of  Arngrim ' 
Much  harm  doing, 
Much  have  yon 
The  mould  increased, 
As  no  one 

Of  the  sons  of  Eyfura 
Will  speak  to  me 
At  Munarvag. 

Hjorvard !  Hervard  ! 
Hrani  !  Anaantyr  ! 
So  be  the  mind 
Of  vou  all 



As  if  you  were  rotting 

In  an  ant-hill 

Unless  ye  yield 

The  sword  forged  by  Dvalin  ; 

It  is  not  fit  for  ghosts 

Costly  weapons  to  hide. 


Hervor,  my  daughter  ! 
Why  callest  thou  thus 
Full  of  baneful  words  ; 
Thou  art  going  to  fare  badly; 
Mad  hast  thou  become 
And  out  of  thy  senses, 
As  thou  awakeuest  the  dead. 

Neither  father  buried  me 
Nor  other  kinsmen  ; 
The  two  who  lived 
Kept  Tyrfiny  ; 
Although  at  last 
One  became  its  owner. 


Thou  dost  not  tell  me  truth  ; 
The  As  shall  leave  thee 
Unharmed  in  the  grave-mound 
If  thou  hast  not  Tyrfiny  ; 
Thou  art  unwilling 
To  »ive  the  heritage 
To  thy  only  child. 

Then  the  mound  opened  and  looked 
as  if  it  were  all  on  fire  and  flame. 
Angantyr  sang : 

Ajar  is  the  gate  of  Hel ; 

The  mounds  are  opening, 

All  the  island-coast 

Looks  as  if  on  fire  ; 

Outside  all 

Is  awful  to  behold  ; 

Hasten  thee,  maiden,  if  thou  canst, 

To  thy  ships. 


Ye  can  not  light 
Such  a  flame  at  night 

That  I  would 

Fear  your  fires ; 

The  mind-town  of  thought1 

Of  the  maid  does  not  quail 

Though  she  sees  a  ghost 

Standing  in  the  door. 


I  will  tell  thee,  Hervor, 
Listen  the  while, 
Wise  daughter, 
What  will  happen; 
This  Tyrfing  will, 
If  thou  canst  believe  it, 
All  thy  kin, 
Maiden,  destroy. 

Thou  shalt  beget  a  son 

Who  afterwards  will 

Tyrfiny  carry 

And  trust  to  his  own  strength; 

This  one  will  the  people 

Heidrek  call, 

He  will  be  the  mightiest  born 

Under  the  tent  of  the  sun. 


I  thus  spellbind 

The  dead  champions 

That  you  shall 

All  lie 

Dead  with  the  ghosts, 

Rotting  in  the  mound, 

Unless  thou  yieldest  me,  Angantyr, 

The  slayer  of  Hjalmar,2 

The  one  to  armours  dangerous, 

Out  of  the  mound.    . 


Young  maiden,  I  say, 
Thou  art  not  like  man 
As  thou  art  strolling  about 
Among  mounds  in  the  night 
With  inlaid  spear 
And  the  Goth's  metal, 
AVith  helmet  and  mail-coat 
Before  the  hall-door. 


-  Tyrfing. 



I  thought  hitherto  I  was 

A  human  being 

Ere  I- called 

At  your  halls ; 

Hand  me  from  the  mound 

The  hater  of  mail-coats,1 

It  will  not  do  for  thee 

To  hide  the  Dvergar's  smithying. 


The  slayer  of  Hjalmar 
Lies  under  my  shoulders ; 
All  around  it  is 
Wrapped  in  fire  ; 
Xo  maiden  I  know 
Above  the  mould 
That-  dares  this  sword 
Take  in  her  hand. 

I  will  hold 

And  take  in  my  hands 
The  sharp  mcekir 
If  I  may  have  it ; 
I  do  not  fear 
The  burning  fire ; 
At  once  the  flame  lessens 
When  I  look  at  it. 


Foolish  art  thoti,  Hervor, 
Though  courage  owning, 
As  thoti  with  open  eyes 
Into  the  fire  rushest ; 
I  will  rather  yield  thee 
The  sword  from  the  mound, 
Young  maiden ! 
I  cannot  refuse  it  to  thee. 

Then  the  sword  was  flung  out  into 
the  hands  of  Hervor. 


Thou  didst  well, 

Kinsman  of  vikings, 

When  thou  gavest  me 

The  sword  from  the  mound  ; 

I  think,  king ! 

1  have  a  better  gift 

Than  if  I  got 

The  whole  of  Xorway. 


Thou  knowest  not, 

Thou  art  wretched  in  speech, 

Imprudent  woman, 

At  what  thou  art  glad. 

This  Tyrfiny  will, 

If  thou  canst  believe  it,2 

All  thy  kin, 

Maiden,  destroy. 


I  will  go  down 

To  the  steeds  of  the  sea  ;3 

Now  is  the  king's  daughter 

In  a  good  mind ; 

1  fear  little, 

Kinsman  of  chiefs, 

How  my  sons 

May  hereafter  quarrel. 


Thou  shalt  own  it 

And  enjoy  it  long, 

But  hidden  keep 

The  slayer  of  Hjalmar  ; 

Touch  thou  not  its  edges, 

Poison  is  in  both, 

This  doomer  of  men 

Is  worse  than  disease. 

Farewell,  daughter, 

I  would  quickly  give  thee 

The  vigour  of  twelve  men 

If  thou  would'st  believe  it ; 4 

The  strength  and  endurance, 

All  the  good 

That  the  sons  of  Arngrim 

Left  after  themselves. 

1  Tyrfing. 

2  I  would  wish  thee  to  believe  it. 

3  Ships. 

4  That  Tyrfing  was  dangerous. 


sr  RIALS. 

"  Then  she  went  down  to  the  sea,  and  when  it  dawned  she 
saw  that  the  ships  had  left.  The  vikings  had  been  afraid  of 
the  thunderings  and  the  fires  in  the  island  "  1  (Hervarar  Saga, 
c.  10). 

Burial  in  ships. — The  mode  of  burial  in  ships  would  appear 
to  have  belonged  exclusively  to  the  North,  where  it  seems  to 
have  been  in  much  favour,  and  shows  in  a  remarkable  manner 
the  seafaring  character  of  the  people. 

Until  recently  few  descriptions  have  been  more  ridiculed  by 
persons  who  did  not  believe  in  the  Saga  literature,  than  those 
which  gave  accounts  of  burials  of  chiefs,  warriors,  and  others 
in  ships.  Here  again  archaeology  has  come  to  our  aid  to  prove 
the  truthfulness  of  the  Sagas,  and  in  such  a  perfect  manner  as 
to  settle  the  question  beyond  controversy  ;  for  we  find  ships  in 
which  the  body  of  the  dead  warrior  was  not  burned,  and  other 
ships  which  have  been  used  as  a  pyre.  The  earliest  account 
of  such  burial  is  in  Voluspa,  amplified  in  the  later  Edda, 
which  gives  us  a  vivid  description  of  the  funeral  of  Baldr,  the 
son  of  Odin. 

"  The  Asar  took  the  body  of  Baldr  and  carried  it  down  to 
the  sea.  Hringhorni  was  the  name  of  Baldr's  ship  ;  it  was 
larger  than  any  other  ship.  The  gods  wanted  to  launch  it  for 
the  burning -voyage  of  Baldr,  but  it  did  not  move.  Then  the 
gyg  (Jotun-wonian)2  in  Jotunheim,  named  Hyrrokkin,  was  sent 
for.  She  came  riding  on  a  wolf,  with  snakes  for  reins.  She 
leapt  from  the  steed,  and  Odin  called  to  four  Berserks  to  take 
care  of  it,  but  they  could  not  hold  it  except  by  throwing  it 
down.  She  wenfcto  the  stem  of  the  ship  and  pushed  it  forward 
at  the  first  attempt,  so  that  fire  issued  from  the  rollers  and  the 
ground  trembled.  Then  Thor  grew  angry,  seized  his  hammer, 
and  would  have  broken  her  head  if  the  gods  had  not  asked 
him  to  spare  her.  The  body  of  Baldr  was  carried  out  on  the 
ship,  and  his  wife  Nanna,  Nep's  daughter,  on  seeing  tiiis  died 

1  I  visited  the  island  of  Samso  iu  order 
to  see  if  I  could  discover  any  indication 
of  the  mound  of  Angantyr.  This  island 
stands  in  the  middle  of  the  gpeat  belt ; 
it  is  only  in  clear  weather  that  part  of 
the  coast  of  the  peninsula  of  Jutland  can 
be  seen;  its  shores  are  in  many  parts 
lined  with  huge  boulders.  In  some  parts 
mounds,  passage  graves,  dolmens,  &c.,  are 
to  be  seen  ;  everything  tends  to  show  that 
in  olden  times  it  was  a  great  burial  place. 

Many  of  the  mounds  are  either  hidden 
by  woods,  or  stand  solitary  amidst  culti- 
vated fields.  The  scene  described  in 
Hervara  came  forcibly  upon  my  mind, 
and  I  wondered  not  that  Hervor  knew 
not  where  the  mound  of  her  father  wa-. 
This  island  was  well  chosen  for  the  rest- 
ing-place of  these  men  of  the  sea. 

-  The  gyg  (ogress,  witch)  seem  to 
have  been  women  of  Jotun  race,  pos- 
sessing supernatural  strength. 


from  grief.  She  was  laid  on  the  pyre  and  it  was  set  on  fire. 
Thor  went  to  it  and  consecrated  it  with  Mjoluir.  At  his  feel 
there  ran  a  Bverg  named  Lit.  'Thor  pushed  him  with  his 
foot  into  the  tire,  and  he  was  burned.  To  this  burning  came 
many  kinds  of  people.  First  went  Odin  and  his  ravens  and 
Frigg,  as  well  as  the  Valkyrias.  Frey  drove  in  a  carriage 
drawn  by  the  boar  called  GuHiribursti  (gold  bristle)  or  8/i>/- 
riti/tanni  (the  awful-tusked).  Heimdal  rode  the  horse  GnU- 
topp  (gold  tuft),  and  Freyja  with  her  cats.  There  came  also 
many  Hrim  Thursar  and  Bergrisar.  Odin  laid  on  the  pyre 
the  gold  ring  Draupnir ;  afterwards  every  ninth  night  there 
dropped  from  it  eight  equally  heavy  gold  rings.  The  horse 
of  Baldr  was  led  on  the  pyre  in  full  harness  "  (Gylfaginnino- 
eh.  49). 

"  They  carried  him  in  the  snow-storm  to  Nanstanes,  where  a 
tent  was  put  over  him  at  night.  In  the  morning,  at  high 
water,  Skaliagrim  was  laid  in  a  ship,  and  they  rowed  TO 
Digranes.  Egil  had  a  mound  made  near  the  end  of  the 
ness  (cape),  and  in  this  he  was  laid,  with  his  horse,  his 
weapons,  and  smithying  tools.  It  is  not  mentioned  that  loose 
property  was  put  in  the  mound  with  him.  Egil  took  the 
inheritance,  lands,  and  loose  property;  he  took  care  of  the 
farm  "  (Egil's  Saga,  c.  61). 

CT nd run  after  having  slain  her  husband  Atli  said  : 

I  will  buy  a  .ship  (knOrr),1 
And  a  painted  coffin, 
Wax  well  the  sheets 2 

To  wrap  thy  corpse  with  ; 
Think  of  every  need, 
As  if  we  were  friends. 

"  Geirmund  died  at  Geirmundsstadir,  and  was  laid  in  a  ship 
in  the  woods  near  the  farm  (gard)." 

Of  this  Geirmund  much  is  told  of  in  Sturlunga  as  a  great 

"  Thorir,  An's  brother,  fell  in  a  battle  against  king  Lugjaldi 
of  Naumdcelafylki. 

"An  had  a  mound  made  and  put  a  ship  in  it  and  placed 
Thorir  in  its  lypting,  but  the  king's  men  he  placed  along  both 
sides  of  the  ship  that  it  might  look  as  if  all  served  him  "  (An 
Bogsveigi's  Saga,  ch.  6). 

"  The  brothers  Eirik  and  Jorund  became  very  famous  by  this 
deed  (slaying  King  Gudlaug  of  Halogahmd),  and  they  thought 
themselves  far  greater  men  than  before.  When  they  heard 

1   Volsunga  Sau;a.  ch.  38  ;  instead  of  a 
ship   he  is  buried  in  a  stone  coffin,  but 

the  poetry  must  be  more  trusted. 
Smear  well  with  wax  the  sheets. 

334  BURIALS. 

that  King  Haki  had  allowed  his  champions  to  go  away,  they 
sailed  to  Sweden  and  collected  a  host,  and  when  it  was  known 
that  the  two  Ynglings  had  returned  the  Swedes  flocked  to  them 
in  great  numbers.  They  sailed  up  into  the  Log  (Lake  Malar) 
and  went  to  Uppsalir  against  King  Haki,  who  met  them  on 
Fyrisvellir.  A  great  battle  ensued  ;  King  Haki  rushed  forward 
with  such  valour  that  he  slew  all  that  were  near  him,  he  finally 
killed  Eirik  and  cut  down  the  standard  bearers  of  the  brothers, 
whereupon  Jorund  fled  to  his  ship  \vith  his  men.  Haki  re- 
ceived such  severe  wounds  that  he  saw  his  days  would  not  be 
long.  He  then  had  a  skeid  which  he  owned  loaded  with  dead 
men  and  weapons,  he  had  it  launched  on  the  sea,  and  the 
rudder  adjusted  and  the  sea  sail  hoisted.  He  had  tarred  wood 
kindled  and  a  pyre  made  on  the  ship,  the  wind  blew  towards 
the  sea.  Haki  was  almost  dead  when  he  was  laid  on  the  pyre. 
Then  the  burning  ship  sailed  out  to  sea.  This  was  very  famous 
for  a  long  time  after  "  (Ynglinga  Saga,  c.  27). 

"King  Hakon  then  took  the  ships  belonging  to  Eirik's  sons, 
which  lay  on  the  dry  beach,  and  had  them  dragged  ashore. 
He  placed  Egil  Ullserk,  together  with  all  who. had  fallen  on 
his  side,  in  a  ship,  which  was  covered  with  earth  and  stones. 
He  also  had  dragged  ashore  several  more  ships,  and  into  these 
were  laid  the  dead.  The  mounds  are  still  to  be  seen  south  of 
Frffidarberg.  High  bautastones  stand  at  the  mound  of  Egil 
Ullserk  "  (Hakon  the  Good's  Saga,  ch.  27). 

Women  were  sometimes  buried  in  ships. 

"  After  this  Unn,  who  was  now  quite  old,  as  was  her  custom, 
went  into  her  sleeping-house  to  rest,  but  bade  her  guests  enjoy 
themselves,  and  ordered  that  they  be  entertained  as  splendidly 
as  possible.  When  she  retired  the  feast  continued  until  it  was 
time  to  go  to  bed.  The  next  day,  as  Unn  remained  longer 
than  usual  in  her  sleeping-room,  Olaf  went  in  and  found  her 
dead.  He  returned  to  the  guests  and  announced  this  to  them, 
who  all  said  that  Unn  had  well  kept  up  her  dignity  to  the. last. 

"  At  the  same  time  Olaf's  wedding  and  Unn's  arvel  were  held. 
On  the  last  day  of  the  feast  her  body  was  carried  to  the  mound 
which  had  been  prepared  for  it.  She  was  placed  in  a  ship 
therein,  and  with  her  a  great  deal  of  property,  and  then  the 
mound  was  closed."  Olaf  then  took  possession  of  his  grand- 
mother's property,  and,  after  the  feast  was  over,  gave  fine 
presents  to  the  foremost  of  those  present,  and  all  departed 
(Laxdoela,  ch  8).1 

1  Cf.    Landnama,  ii.     An    Bogsveigi's 
Saga,  c.  6.      Atlannil.       Gisli    Sursson. 

Laxdasla  Saga,  ch.  7. 

THE  SEPl'l.rintAl.   >////'   AT  GOKSTAD. 

Men  were  sometimes  buried  in  a  ship's  boat. 

''  Ingimund  was  laid  in  the  boat  of  the  ship  Slig;mdi,  and 
his  body  prepared  honourably  as  was  the  custom  with  high- 
born men.  Thorstein  said  to  his  brothers  :  •  It  seems  to  me 
right  that  we  shall  not  sit  in  our  lather's  seat  at  home,  or  at 
feasts,  while  his  slaying  is  unavenged.'  This  they  did,  and 
neither  went  to  games  nor  other  gatherings"  (Vatnsdirla 
Saga,  22). 

One  of  the  most  valuable  discoveries,  showing  the  burial  of 
a  warrior  in  a  ship  without  his  body  being  burned,  is  that'  of 
the  Gokstad  ship. 

Very  few  things  in  the  North  have  impressed  me  more  than 
the  sight  of  this  weird  l  mausoleum,  the  last  resting-place  of 
a  warrior,  and  as  I  gazed  on  its  dark  timber  I  could  almost 
imagine  that  I  could  still  see  the  gory  traces  of  the  struggle 
and  the  closing  scene  of  burial  when  he  was  put  in  the 
mortuary  chamber  that  had  been  made  for  him  on  board  the 
craft  he  commanded. 

The  warrior  had  been  buried  according  to  his  position  in 
life ;  remains  at  least  of  twelve  skeletons  of  horses  were  found 
in  different  parts  of  the  mound  on  each  side  of  the  ship ;  there 

1  Other  ship-graves,  such  as  that  of 
Tune,  Borre,  &c.,  have  been  found  with 
skeletons  of  horses. 

Among  other  ships  found  is  the  Gun- 
nai>haug  ship,  discovered  in  Bergen  Stift 
in  1887.  The  large  mound  in  which  it 
was  found  had  a  diameter  of  over  125 
feet,  and  stood  about  500  feet  from  the 
sin  in.-. 

The  ship  was  only  partly  preserved 
owing  to  the  action  of  the  soil.  Its 
planks  were  of  oak,  thicker  and  less 
broad  than  those  of  the  Gokstad  ship, 
fastened  by  clinch-nails.  In  the  upper- 
most planks,  considerably  thinner  than 
the  rest,  there  are  holes  at  distances  of 
a  little  over  3  feet.  Its  keel  is  about 
the  same  length  as  that  of  the  Gokstad 

It  stood  north  to  south,  and  has  been 
supported  by  six  stones,  each  about  6  feet 
high.  Its  inside  has  been  clothed  with 
a  layer  of  moss,  evidently  to  hinder  decay 
by  the  soil,  and  on  one  side  of  it  was  a 
heap  of  shavings,  chips  and  bark,  lelt  by 
the  carpenters.  There  are  reasons  for 
thinking  that  a  wooden  roof  had  been 

erected  over  the  ship,  and  afterwards 
broken  down. 

Of  the  Viking's  body  no  trace  is  left, 
but  the  remains  found  indicate  his  place 
in  the  middle  of  the  ship;  these  are  two 
swords,  forging-tools,  five  long  whetting- 
stones,  a  tinder-box  and  pieces  of  a  wooden 
box.  Farther  north:  several  large  brad- 
of  mosaic  glass  and  fine  chesspieces  of 
amber  ami  coloured  glass,  part  of  a 
waxen  tablet,  a  bracelet  of  gold,  &c. 

Near  the  weapons  lay  an  iron  kettle 
and  both  the  stones  of  a  hand-mill,  which 
shows  that  the  Vikings  ground  their 
grain  at  sea.  The  stem  was  filled  with 

Oars  and  carved  tools  were  also  found, 
and  planks  of  an  exceedingly  well-built 
boat  of  oak,  over  which  there  lay  a  fir 
plank,  several  feet  long,  with  steps  cut 
in  it,  evidently  a  landing-board  (cf.  Gok- 
stad ship). 

This  is  the  first  burial-place  found  in 
Bergen  Stift  where  the  body  was  un- 
Imnit,  but  they  are  common  further 



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Fig.  748. — Bedstead,  upon  which  the  dead  warrior  had  been  placed,  found  in  the 
sepulchral  chamber,  Gb'kstad  ship. 



Fig.  750. 

Fig.  749. 
Axe,  J  real  size,  found  in  mound 

Fig.  751. 

Fig.  752. 

Fig.  753 

Fig.  754. 

Fig.  755 

Fig.  756. 

Fig.  757.  Fig.  758 

Fig.  759. 

VOL.    I. 

Fig.  760. 
Some  objects  of  bronze  or  iron.  — Gcikstad  ship. 



Fig.  761.— Part 
of  a  sledge. 

Fig.  767. 

Some  objects  of  bronze  or  iron.     Gokstad  ship.     See 
Vol.  ii.,  Frontispiece  and  pages  162  to  168. 

I'lUAL  ,s7//7'  AT 

were  also  remains  of  skeletons  of  several  dogs.  The  bones 
and  feathers  of  a  peacock  were  inside  the  ship,  the  prow  of 
which,  like  that  of  the  Tune  boat,  looked  towards  the  sea  as  if 
ready  for  a  voyage. 

One  of  the  finest  discoveries,  illustrating  the  use  of  a  ship  as 
a  pyre  for  the  burial  of  the  dead  warrior,  was  in  a  mound 
12  feet  high  and  92  feet  in  diameter,  opened  in  1S74  in 
Moklebust  Eids  parish,  Bergen  Stift,  Norway. 

Among  the  objects  were  a  vast  number  of  rivets  or  clinch- 
nails,  and  a  great  number  of  shield-bosses  belonging  to  shields 
which  adorned  the  sides  of  the  ship  ;  perhaps  several  warriors 
had  been  burned  together.  On  the.  bottom  of  the  mound,  on 
the  level  of  the  ground,  was  a  layer  of  charcoal  and  burned 
soil  intermingled  with  small  pieces  of  bone,  which  extended 
nearly  to  the  sides,  but  was  heaviest  in  the  middle.  Separated 
from  this  by  a  layer  of  light  shore-sand  was  another  similar 

Inside  an  oval  about  28  feet  in  length  and  14  feet  in  width 
these  two  layers  were  interspersed  with  burned  bone-splints, 
clinch-nails,  and  spikes.1  In  the  eastern  half  of  the  charcoal 
layer  were  found  six  shield-buckles ;  and  in  the  western  half, 
shield-buckles  scattered  about  in  various  ways,  sometimes 
singly,  sometimes  close  to  one  another.  In  nearly  every  one 
of  them  lay  a  clinch-nail,  evidently  placed  there  intentionally, 

1  In  a  large  mound  at  Void,  Borre 
parish,  Norway,  was  a  small  vessel  about 
54  feet  long,  but  in  such  an  imperfect 
state  of  preservation  that  only  the  clinch- 
nails  with  pieces  of  the  planks  were  left. 
On  the  right  side  lay  a  horse's  skeleton, 
near  which  were  found  remains  of  a  fine 
In-idle  and  saddle  of  leather  and  wood, 
the  mountings  of  bronze  and  silver; 
also  fragments  of  a  glass  bowl  similar 
to  the  one  found  in  a  mound  at  Taplun 
(see  p.  319).  On  the  left  side  lay  the 
skeletons  of  another  horse  and  of  a  dog. 
Above  the  ship,  over  the  entire  mound, 
was  spread  a  layer  of  charcoal.  Among 
the  objects  found  were  a  wrought-iron 
chain,  an  iron  axe,  fragments,  and  an  iron 
kettle  containing  ashes,  &c.  This  grave 
was  made  in  a  group  of  large  mounds. 

In  Tune,  Norway,  about  five  miles 
from  the  river  Glommen.  were  found  in 
1867,  in  a  mound,  the  remains  of  a 

viking  ship,  now  in  Christiana.  This 
mound  lay  on  a  hill  not  far  from  the 
Visterrlo,  one  of  the  branches  of  the 
river  Glommen.  It  was  about  24  feet 
in  height,  and  500  feet  in  circumfer- 
ence. Behind  the  mast  lay  the  un- 
burued  corpse  of  a  man,  with  part  of 
the  skeleton  of  a  horse  at  his  side.  At 
the  stern  were  the  remains  of  ring 

At  Lackaliinga,  near  Lund,  there  are 
several  earth-mounds.  In  one  of  these 
were  found — fragments  of  a  ship,  the 
wood  being  incrusted  with  iron  rust ;  an 
urn  of  clay,  with  burned  and  coal ; 
fragments  of  weapons,  &c. ;  at  least 
100  clinch-nails  of  iron,  and  some  other 
pieces  of  the  same  metal,  probably  ori- 
ginally belonging  to  a  vessel  buried  in 
the  mound  ;  two  larger  buckles  of  iron, 
like  those  used  on  saddles  ;  two  stirrups  • 
bits  for  a  bridle,  &c. 

z  2 



just   as   some   of    the    shield-buckles   were  filled    with   bone 
fragments  and  charcoal. 

A  little  to  the  west  of  the  centre  of  the  mound  was  found  a 
large  bundle  of  strongly-bound  and  intentionally  bent  weapons 
and  other  implements.  Right  under  this  bundle  was  a  bridle- 
bit  of  iron,  and  under  this,  in  a  hole  dug  below  the  natural 
level  of  the  ground,  a  whole  collection  of  shield-bosses,  which 
all  lay  with  their  convex  sides  downward,  and  formed  a 

Fig.    768.— Bronze    kettle    filled    with    burnt    bones      Fig.  769. — Handle  of  kettle  ; 
mixed  with  ashes,  charcoal,  &c.,  and  covered  with  real  size.     Moklebust. 

twelve  shield-bosses  ;  nearly  |  real  size.    Moklebust. 

covering  for  a  large  bronze  kettle,  represented  above,  without 
any  other  protection  but  the  above-mentioned  bosses. 

In  the  middle  of  the  bones  lay  an  arrow-point  6  inches 
long ;  also  six  draughtsmen  and  three  dice  of  bone.  The 
draughtsmen  were  ball-shaped;  on  one  side  a  small  part  was 
cut  off,  so  as  to  give  a  flat  surface,  in  the  middle  of  which 
there  was  a  small  hole  (fitting  the  pegs  in  the  board  itself,  as 
seen  from  other  finds  of  boards  with  pegs  which  were  un- 
doubtedly made  thus  for  use  at  sea,  so  as  to  keep  the  pieces 
in  position). 

It  seems  as  if  the  men  of  this  warrior  had  dragged  his  ship 
ashore,  placed  the  corpse  therein  with  all  his  weapons  and  one 
or  more  horses,  and  had  adorned  it  and  hung  their  shields  on 



its  sides,  hoisted  the  sails,  and  then  let  the  flarne  consume  the 
whole.     The  bones  were  then  gathered  and  placed  in  the  urn, 

Fig.  770. — Enamelled  bottom  of  kettle  on  p.  340  (inside),  §  real  size  ;  found  in  a 

mound,  Moklebust. 

Fig.  771.— Enamelled  bottom  (outside),  of  most  brilliant  colours,     real  size. 


and  the  twelve  shield-bosses  placed  over  it,  provisions  placed 
at  its  side,  and  the  whole  covered  with  a  mound.  But  right 
over  the  urn  the  bridle  had  been  placed,  so  as  to  be  near  at 

342  BURIALS. 

hand  ;  then  his  weapons  and  the  remains  of  the  ship's  chest, 
and  then  the  two  layers  of  other  remains  from  the  pyre. 

Fig.  772.  Fiir.  773. 

Bronze  figure  representing  a  man;  with  inscription.  Found  with  a  bronze  kettle 
containing  burnt  bones,  a  double-edged  sword  bent,  several  spear-heads,  a  shield 
boss,  melted  pieces  of  glass,  &c. ;  earlier  iron  age.  Norway. 



Odin's   religion — Sun  worship — The  Three   Annual  Sacrifices — The  Atone- 
ment Boar  and  Bragi  Toast — The  Victory  Sacrifice — Temple  Priests- 
Animals    for    Sacrifices — Sacrificial     ceremonies — Divination — Chips — 
Drawing  of  lots — Consecration  of  laud  and  property — Worship  of  Thor 
—Sign  of  the  Hammer — The  Svastica — Story  of  Framnr. 

THE  earlier  Edcla  or  Sasras  which  relate  to  us  the  traditions 


about  Odin  and  the  Asar  do  not  give  any  description  of  the 
sacred  ceremonies  or  rites  they  performed. 

From  the  Ynglinga  Saga  we  learn  that  the  hero  Odin  of  the 
North  sacrificed  after  the  manner  of  the  Asar.  and  that  the 
sacrifices  made  by  him,  Njord,  Frey,  and  Freyja,  were  to  a 
power  worshipped  by  them,  but  we  are  not  told  who  the  god 
or  power  was.  It  probably  was  in  some  instances  the  sun, 
represented  perhaps  by  the  eye  of  the  earlier  and  mythical 
Odin  of  the  Voluspa — who,  as  we  have  seen,  pledged  his  eye 
for  a  drink  from  the  well  of  Urd  ;  we  know  that  the  worship 
of  the  sun  was  widely  spread  at  one  period  in  the  history  of 
the  world.1  How  the  change  from  the  worship  of  this  unknown 
power  to  the  worship  of  Odin  and  the  other  gods  took  place 
we  are  not  told  ;  but  it  may,  we  think,  be  taken  for  granted 
that  many  of  the  ceremonies  and  beliefs  mentioned  in  the 
Sagas  were  of  very  ancient  origin. 

It  is  only  by  a  studv  of  all  the  Sajms  that  we  gain  a  know- 

J          «/  »  O 

ledge  of  the  beliefs,  religious  ceremonies,  mode  of  worship 
and  superstitions  of  the  people  of  the  North,  which  are  often 
minutely  described.  It  is  somewhat  difficult  for  the  present 

1  According  to  Herodotus,  i.  212, 
Tninyres,  queen  of  the  Massagetae,  whose 
son  had  been  taken  prisoner  by  Cyrus, 
•ifiuls  to  him  the  following  message: — 
•'  Kc'store  my  son;  depart  out  of  the 

country,  unpunished But  if  you 

•  In  not  do  this,  I  swear  by  the  sun,  the 
Lord  of  the  Massagetse,  that  insatiable  as 
you  are,  I  will  glut  you  with  blood." 



generation  of  English  people,  living  in  Creat  Britain  and  other 
countries,  to  realise  that  no  more  than  eight  centuries  ago 
many  of  their  forefathers  believed  and  practised  the  rites  we 
are  going  to  describe,  and  that  so  slow  was  the  march  of 
Christianity,  that  six  or  seven  hundred  years  ago  the  provinces 
of  North-Eastern  Prussia,  Vindland,  Pomerania,  &c.,  whose 
inhabitants  are  among  the  finest  in  Europe,  were  still  heathen. 

It  is  certain  that  Odin  and  some  of  the  Asars  were  deified 
and  worshipped  in  all  the  countries  of  the  North,  and  with 
the  lapse  of  time  their  fame  is  found  to  increase.  The  attri- 
butes of  Odin  were  believed  to  be  many. 

There  were  three  principal  sacrifices  a  year,  at  which  the 
people  assembled  in  the  chief  temples  : — Vetrarllot,  Midsvet- 
rarblot,  and  Sigrblot. 

"  It  is  their  custom  to  have  a  sacrifice  in  the  autumn  and 
welcome  the  winter,  another  at  mid-winter,  the  third  at  the 
beginning  of  summer  ;  then  they  welcome  the  summer.  The 
Eynir,  Sparbyggjar,  Verdxlir  and  SJceynir  take  part  in  this. 
There  are  twelve  men l  who  are  the  foremost  in  managing  the 
sacrifice-feasts  :  this  spring  Olvir  is  to  hold  the  feast ;  he  is 
now  very  busy  in  Maeri,  and  all  provisions  needed  for  the  feast 
are  brought  thither."  (St.  Olaf,  115  ;  of.  id.  123). 

The  first  of  these,  called  Vetrarllot 2  (Winter  sacrifice),  which 
took  place  on  winter  nights3  in  the  month  of  Goi,  was  a 
sacrifice  for  a  good  winter.  The  14th  of  October,  which  was 
the  ancient  month  of  Goi,  is  still  called  winter-night,  or  the 
first  night  of  winter. 

"  That  autumn  the  news  was  told  King  Olaf  from  Thrandheim 
that  the  Thrands  had  had  great  feasts  during  the  winter  nights  : 
there  had  been  great  drinking.  The  King  was  told  that  all 
cups  were  hallowed  to  the  Asar  according  to  ancient  custom. 

1  "  East  of  Tanakvisl  (Tanais,  Don)  in 
Asia  was  AsaLind,  or  Asaheim,  and  the 
head-burgh  (chief  town)  in  the  land  was 
called  Asgard.  In  the  burgh  was  a  chief 
called  Odin  ;  it  was  a  great  sacrificing- 
place  (blotstad).  It  was  customary  there 
that  twelve  temple-priests  (hofgodar) 
were  the  foremost,  and  had  charge  of 
the  sacrifices  and  judged  between  nieu. 
They  were  called  diar  or  drottnar ;  all 
the  people  were  bound  to  give  them 

service  and  reverence  "  (Ynglinga  Saga, 
c.  2). 

2  Vctrarblot  =  winter-sacrifice  ;    from 
vetr  —  winter,  and  blot  =  sacrifice.      The 
milky  way  is  called  vetrarbraut  =  winter 
way,  because    people   thought   that  the 
appearance  of  the  milky  way  predicted 
the  course  of  the  winter. 

3  The    people   counted    by  nights    in- 
stead of  days. 



It  was  also  said  that  cattle  and  horses  were  slaughtered  there,  the 
altars  reddened  with  blood,  and  sacrifices  made  for  the  bettering 
of  the  year.  Also  it  was  said  that  they  all  thought  it  evident 
that  the  gods  were  angry  because  the  men  of  Halogaland 
had  become  Christians  "  (St.  Olaf,  113.  Heimskringla). 

The  second  Midsvetrarllot  (Mid-winter  sacrifice),  also  called 
Julablot1  (Yule  sacrifice),  was  held  at  mid- winter,  or  in  the 
beginning  of  the  mouth  of  Thor  (middle  of  January),  to  ensure 
a  good  year  and  peace,  and  lasted  three  days  ;  at  this  feast 
it  was  customary  to  make  vows  to  some  of  the  gods,  especially 
Frey,  at  Yule-eve.  It  seems  to  have  been  the  greatest  and 
most  important  of  all,  and  many  animals  were  slaughtered  at 
it.2  The  12th  of  January  is  still  called  mid-winter  in  Norway.3 
This  sacrifice  plainly  shows  that  the  blessings  of  peace  were 
appreciated  by  this  warlike  race.  The  Swedes,  as  we  have  read, 
wept  over  the  death  of  Njord,  for  during  his  time  there  were 
good  years  and  peace. 

"  King  Fornjot  ruled  Jotland  (Jotunland)  which  is  called 
Filmland  and  Kvenland,  that  is  east  of  the  arm  of  the  sea  which 
goes  on  the  opposite  side  of  Gandvik  and  which  we  call  Hel- 
singjabotn  (Bothnian  Gulf).  Fornjot  had  three  sons :  Hler, 
whom  we  call  Aegir,  Logi,  and  Kari,  who  was  father  of  Frosti, 
the  father  of  Gnar  the  old  ;  his  son  was  Thorri,  who  had  two  sons, 
Nor  and  Gor ;  his  daughter  was  Goi.  Thorri  was  a  great 
sacrificer ;  he  had  a  great  sacrifice  every  year  at  mid-winter 
which  was  called  Thorra  blot ;  from  this  the  month  was  named 
(Thorri).  One  winter  Goi  disappeared  at  the  Thorri  sacrifice; 
she  was  searched  for  and  not  found.  When  the  month  had 
passed  Thorri  had  a  sacrifice  in  order  to  find  out  where  Goi 
was;  this  they  called  Goillot,  but  they  learnt  nothing  about 
her"  (Fornaldar  Sogur  ii.,  p.  17). 

On  the  Yule-eve  it  was  the  custom  to  lead  in  procession  a 
boar,  consecrated  to  Frey,  called  Sonar  golt  (atonement-boar), 
and  on  this  those  present  placed  their  hands,  made  solemn 
vows,  and  drank  the  Bragi  toast. 

"  King  Heidrek  had  a  boar  fed  ;  it  was  as  large  as  the  largest 
bull,  but  so  fine  that  it  seemed  as  if  every  hair  on  it  was  of 

1  This    was     also     sometimes    called 
Thor's  sacrifice. 

2  It  seems   that   at   this  season   other 
sacrifices  than  those  to  Frev  were  some- 

times   offered.       Cf.    HalfJaii    the    Old. 
Skaldskaparmal,  c.  13. 

3  Cf.    Ynglinjra    Saga,    8;    St.    Olaf, 



gold.  He  placed  one  hand  on  its  head  and  one  on  its  bristles, 
and  made  a  vow  that  never  should  a  man  transgress  so  much 
that  he  should  not  have  the  lawful  judgment  of  his  wise 
men,  and  these  men  should  take  care  of  the  boar,  or  else  he 
should  come  with  riddles  which  the  king  could  not  guess" 
(Hervarar  Saga,  c.  14). 

In  the  evening  vows  were  made,  and  the  atonement-boar 
(xniiar  golt)  was  led  forward  ;  the  men  laid  their  hands  on  it,  and 
made  vows  at  the  Bragi  toast  "  (Helga  Kvida  Hjorvardssonar).1 

"  In  the  winter  the  foster-brothers  (Ingolf  and  Leif)  made  a 
feast  for  the  sons  of  the  Jarl  (Herstein,  Hastein  and  Holmstein, 
the  sons  of  Atli-jarl).  At  this  feast  Holmstein  made  a  vow  that 
he  would  marry  Helga,  the  daughter  of  Orn,  or  no  other 
woman.  Men  disliked  this  vow,  but  Leif  was  seen  to  become 
red  (in  his  face),  and  he  and  Holmstein  were  no  friends  when 
they  parted  at  the  feast"  (Landnama  i.,  c.  3.) 

"  Thorodd  was  with  another  man  at  Thorar's.  There  was 
a  great  Yule-feast,  the  ale  being  provided  by  each  one  himself. 
There  were  many  besides  in  the  hamlet,  who  all  drank  together 
during  Yule.  A  short  way  off  there  was  another  hamlet.  There 
the  brother-in-law  of  Thorar,  a  powerful  and  wealthy  man, 
lived ;  he  had  a  grown-up  son.  They  were  to  drink  during 
the  half  of  the  Yule  at  each  other's  farm,  and  first  at  Thorar's" 
(St.  Olaf,  c.  151). 

"  One  winter  at  Yuletide,  when  the  people  were  assembled 
to  drink,  Finn  said  :  '  Vows  will  be  made  in  many  places  this 
evening,  where  it  is  not  better  to  be  than  here ;  now  I  vow 
that  I  will  serve  the  king  who  is  the  highest  and  in  all  things 
surpasses  others'  '  (Fornmanna  Sogur  ii.,  ch.  201.) 

The  third,  called  SigrUut  (Victory  sacrifice),  for  luck  and 
victory,  occurred  in  the  beginning  of  spring,  about  the  middle 
of  April,  being  fixed  at  that  time  of  the  year  because  warfare 
and  most  Viking  expeditions  took  place  in  the  summer.  It 
was  in  honour  of  Odin,  to  whom  alone,  as  we  see  from  the 
Sagas,  sacrifices  were  made  for  victory.2 

In  those  warlike  days  sacrifices  relating  to  war  were  the 
most  important,  for  the  life  of  the  nation  depended  upon  vic- 
tory, and  they  were  consequently  foremost  among  the  people. 

1  Cf.  also  Herd's  Saga  and  Hervarar 
Saga,  c.  14.  The  boar  was  consecrated 
to  Frey. 

2  Cf.  also  Hakon  Adalsteinsfostri's 
Saga,  c.  15;  Olaf  Tryggvason  (Hkr.), 
c.  28. 



"Dag,  son  of  Hogni,  made  a  sacrifice  to  Odin,  to  avenge  his 
father  (who  was  slain  by  Helgi) ;  Odin  lent  his  spear  to  him. 
Dag  met  his  brother-in-law  Helgi  at  the  place  called  Fjotur- 
lund,  he  pierced  him  with  the  spear,  and  Helgi  fell  there " 
(Helga  kvida  Hundingsbana  II).1 

"In  Sweden  it  was  an  old  custom,  from  heathen  times,  that 
the  chief  sacrifice  (hofudblot)  should  be  at  Uppsalir  in  the 
month  of  Goi,  and  that  the  sacrifice  should  be  for  peace  ami 
victory  for  the  King,  and  men  should  come  thither  from  all 
over  the  Swedish  realm  "  (St.  Olaf,  c.  76,  Heimskringla). 

When  Hakon  jarl  returned  from  Denmark,  he  ravaged 
both  shores. 

"  When  he  had  sailed  eastward  as  far  as  the  Ganta  Skerries 
(rocky  islets),  he  went  ashore  and  made  a  great  sacrifice.  Two 
ravens,  which  croaked  loudly,  flew  towards  him,  and  the  jarl 
thought  that  Odin  must  have  accepted  the  sacrifice  and  that  he 
would  have  a  good  chance  of  victory.  He  thereupon  set  fire 
to  his  ships  and  burned  them  all,  and  went  into  the  country  with 
his  men  with  warlike  intentions  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  vol.  i.). 

Sacrifices. — The  superintendents  of  the  sacrifices  as  we  have 
seen  were  in  the  earliest  times  in  the  North  the  Hofgodi 
(temple  priests),  who  were  called  Diar  and  Drotnar,  and  were 
held  in  great  esteem  and  veneration  by  the  people ;  but  in 
later  times  temporal  rulers  were  also  priests,  and  had  charge 
of  the  sacrifices.2 

"  All  over  Sweden  men  paid  taxes  to  Odin ;  one  penning 
(piece  of  money)  for  every  nose;  and  lie  had  to  defend  their 
land  against  war  ;  and  sacrifice  for  a  good  year  "  (Ynglinga 

Saga,  c.  8). 

The  animals  for  sacrifice,  which  were  generally  oxen,  horses, 
sheep,  boars,  and  falcons,  fattened  in  order  to  be  of  large  size 
and  fine  appearance,  were  slaughtered  by  the  temple  priest, 
and  in  later  times,  as  a  rule,  in  front  of  the  idols.3  Sometimes 
the  superintendence  of  the  sacrificing  feast  alternated  between 
a  certain  number  of  the  foremost  boandr  *  of  the  fylki.5 

"It  happened  in  Sweden  that  the  bull  which  was  to  lie 
sacrificed  was  old  and  so  well  fed  that  it  was  vicious  ;  when 

1  Cf.    Hakon    Adalsteinsfostri's    Sa^a, 
c.  15.     Snorri's  Olaf  Tryggvason,  c.  -JX. 

2  See  chapter  on  Godis,  p.  52o. 

3  Olaf  Tryggva^on  in  Fins.  ii.  173. 

4  See  p.  4-96,  a  landowner. 

5  St.  Olaf  115,  Heimskringla. 



men  wanted  to  capture  it  it  ran  into  the  woods  and  became 
furious  "  (Ynglinga,  ch.  30). 

The  people  believed  that  good  or  bad  years  were  often 
caused  by  faith,  or  want  of  faith,  in  the  Asa  creed  ;  a  year  was 
good  when  their  chiefs  sacrificed  much,  bad  when  they  were 
not  zealous  sacrificers.1 

The  ceremony  was  divided  into  two  parts :  first  the  slaugh- 
tering of  animals,  and  reddening  of  the  temple  and  altars  with 
blood — probably  on  the  first  night ;  then  the  sacrificial  feast. 

In  some  places  the  expenses2  of  these  feasts  were  defrayed 
by  the  godi,  who  in  return  had  the  care  of  the  temple  posses- 
sions and  of  the  temple  tolls  :  3  in  the  earliest  times  people  had 
to  pay  taxes— a  custom  said  to  have  been  instituted  by  Odin. 

It  was  the  custom  to  cook  the  flesh  of  the  slaughtered  animals 
in  large  kettles  hanging  over  these  fires  along  the  floor  of  the 
temple.  The  people  then  assembled  to  eat  it  seated  along 
the  walls,  and  the  filled  horns  were  carried  between  or  round 
the  fires,  which  were  probably  regarded  as  holy,  the  person 
having  charge  of  the  feast  consecrating  the  horns  and  the 
meat  (i.e.,  making  the  sign  of  the  hammer  of  Thor  over  them). 
First  was  drunk  the  horn  of  Odin,  for  victory  and  power ;  then 
Thor's  horn  by  those  who  trusted  in  their  own  strength  and 
power ;  Njord's  and  Frey's  horn  for  good  years  and  peace ; 
Bragi's  when  solemn  vows  were  made  ;  and  the  memorial  toast 
for  dead  kinsmen  which  was  proposed  by  the  sacrificing  priest,4 

Of  the  solemn  ceremonies  which  took  place  at  the  slaying 
of  the  living  animals  we  have  no  description,  but  the  blood 
from  the  sacrifices  of  either  animals  or  human  beings  was 
collected  into  a  bowl  (Hlaut-bolli),  generally  of  copper,  which 
had  its  place  in  the  temple  at  the  principal  altar.  The  altars 
•  and  walls  of  the  temple,  and  the  people  and  idols,  were 
spattered  with  blood  with  a  kind  of  broom  called  Hlaut-tein 

Snorri's  Olaf  Trygg- 

1  Ynglinga,  47. 
viison,  16. 

2  Sometimes  the  expenses  devolved  on 
the  king,  at  others  the  feasts  were  pro- 
vided for  by  the  food  and  ale  brought  by 
those  in   attendance  (Hakon   Adalsteins- 
fostri,  16,  18).      How  far  people  went  for 

sacrifices  is  seen  in  Landnama  v.,  8. 

3  Eyrbyggja,  4,  10. 

4  In  Herraud's  Saga,  ch.  12,  the  toasts 
are   given  in  different  order.     The    first 
toast  is  dedicated  to  Thor ;  then  one  to 
all  the  Asar;    theu    one  to    Odin;    and 
lastly,  one  to  Frey. 


"  Sigurd  Hlada-jarl  was  a  very  great  sacrifice!1,  as  his  father 
Hakon  had  been ;  he  kept  up  all  the  sacrificing-feasts  in 
Thrandheim  on  the  king's  behalf.  It  was  an  old  custom 
when  a  sacrifice  was  to  take  place  that  all  the  boendr  should 
come  to  the  temple,  and  take  with  them  the  provisions  needed 
while  the  feast  lasted.  Every  man  was  to  bring  ale;  there 
were  also  slaughtered  all  kinds  of  small  cattle,  as  well  as 
horses.  All  the  blood  which  came  therefrom  was  called  lilaut 
(sacrifice  blood),  the  vessels  for  holding  it  hlaut-bowls,  and  the 
twigs,  hlaut-twigs.  With  them  the  altars  had  to  be  reddened 
all  over,  and  also  the  walls  of  the  temple  inside  and  outside; 
then  the  men  were  to  be  sprinkled  with  them,  but  the  flesh 
had  to  be  boiled  for  people  to  eat. 

"  Fires  were  to  burn  on  the  middle  of  the  temple  floor,  and 
kettles  to  be  put  on  them ;  the  drinking-horns  had  to  be 
carried  around  the  lire.  The  chief  who  made  the  feast  had 
to  consecrate  the  horns,  and  all  the  sacrifice-food.  The  horn 
(toast)  of  Odin  must  be  drunk  first,  for  the  victory  and  power 
of  their  king ;  and  then  the  horn  of  Njord  and  Frey,  for  a 
good  year  and  peace.  Many  ussd  to  drink  Bragi's  horn  next 
to  these.  Men  also  drank  horns  for  those  of  their  kinsmen  who 
had  been  great  men ;  these  were  called  minni  (memorial 
horns).  Sigurd  jarl  was  a  most  open-handed  man ;  he  did  a 
very  famous  deed,  as  he  held  a  great  sacrificing  feast  at 
Hladir,  and  himself  alone  paid  all  the  costs  '"'  (Hakon  Adalstein- 
fostri  (Hkr.),  ch.  16). 

It  was  customary  to  try  and  find  out  the  decrees  of  fate  or 
the  will  of  the  gods  by  a  kind  of  divination  or  casting  of  lots 
with  chips  dipped  in  the  blood  of  sacrifices :  the  most  common 
way  of  making  inquiry  was  by  Blotspdn  (sacrifice  chip)  and  by 
lots  (lilu£) — both  methods  of  casting  lots,  but  differently  per- 
formed— the  former  of  which  apparently  meant  the  throwing 
these  sacred  chips  of  wood. 

Mention  is  made  of  the  use  of  scales  with  lots  in  them,  on  one 
side  favourable,  on  the  other  side  unfavourable;  if  the  favour- 
able one  went  higher  up  than  the  other,  it  was  a  good  omen. 

Einar,  an  Icelander,  and  one  of  Hakon  jarl's  scalds,  wanted 
to  leave  him  and  join  Sigvaldi  his  foe  at  the  battle  of.  the 
Jomsvikiug,  for  he  thought  he  had  not  as  much  honour  with 
the  jarl  as  formerly. 

"  When  Hakon  saw  that  ho  was  going,  he  shouted  for  him 
to  come  and  speak  with  him,  and  so  he  did  ;  the  jarl  took  two 


scales  of  burnished  silver,  gilt  all  over ;  with  them  were  two 
weights,  one  of  gold,  the  other  of  silver,  on  each  of  which  a 
likeness  was  made ;  they  were  called  lots  and  were  of  the  kind 
customary  with  men.  Strong  qualities  were  in  them,  and  the 
jarl  used  them  for  all  things  of  importance  to  him.  He  used 
to  put  them  on  the  scales  and  tell  what  each  of  them  should 
signify  to  him.  When  it  went  well,  and  the  one  he  wanted 
came  up,  the  lot  in  the  scale  which  signified  what  he  wanted 
never  kept  quiet,  but  moved  on  the  scale  and  made  a  tinkling 
sound.  These  costly  things  he  gave  to  Einar,  who  became 
merry  and  glad,  and  desisted  from  going  to  Sigvald.  From 
this  he  got  a  name  and  was  afterwards  called  Skalaglam  = 
'  scale  tinkle  '  "  (Jomsviking  Saga). 

"  Ingjald  gathered  men  and  went  against  Granuiar  and  his 
son-in-law,  Hjorvard  ;  he  had  a  far  larger  host  than  the  two 
others.  The  battle  was  hard,  and  after  a  short  time  the  chiefs 
of  Fjadrundaland,  Vestr-Gautland,  Nceriki,  and  Attundaland 
(they  were  with  Ingjald),  and  all  the  host  from  these  lands, 
fled.  Ingjald  received  many  wounds,  and  with  difficulty 
escaped  to  his  ships ;  his  foster-father  Svipdag  the  Blind  fell 
there,  with  both  his  sons,  Gautvid  and  Hulvid.  Ingjald  went 
back  to  Uppsalir  dissatisfied  with  the  expedition ;  he  saw  that 
the  hosts  from  the  kingdoms  he  had  conquered  were  unfaithful. 
After  this  there  was  a  great  war  between  the  kings ;  but  when 
it  had  lasted  some  time  the  friends  of  both  brought  about  a 
reconciliation.  The  kings  appointed  a  meeting,  met,  and  all 
three  made  peace,  which  was  to  stand  while  they  lived  ;  this 
was  bound  with  oaths  and  pledges.  The  next  spring  Granmar 
went  to  Uppsalir  to  sacrifice  for  peace,  as  was  the  custom 
towards  summer.  The  sacrifice-chip  fell  so  as  to  show  that  he 
would  not  live  long  "  (Ynglinga  Saga,  c.  42). 

Marks  were  cut  on  pieces  of  wood  or  other  material,  and 
each  person  had  his  mark.     Sometimes  the  places  at  feasts 
were  assigned  by  lot,  and  lots  wrere  also  drawn  for   human, 
sacrifice.     The  images  of  some    of  the  gods  were  sometimes 
marked  on  the  lots.1 

'•  At  the  advice  of  powerful  men  it  was  agreed  that  the 
kings  should  draw  lots  as  to  which  of  them  should  hereafter 
rule,  and  the  lots  were  to  l>e  cut  and  put  in  the  folds  of  a  cloak. 
Then  Eystein  asked  his  brother  King  Olaf  with  whom  he 
sided  in  this  matter.  He  answered  :  '  We  have  long  kept  our 
love  for  each  other  and  agreed  well ;  thy  will  in  regard  to  the 

1   Hallfredar  Saga. 

WORSHIP  <>r  /7,-/:r,  ETC.  351 

rule  of  the  land  and  the  laws,  King  Eystein,  is  also  mine. 
Eystein  said  :  '  I  advise  thee,  King  Sigurd,  to  cut  the  third  lot 
for  the  cloak,  for  King  01  af,  like  ourselves,  is  the  son  of  Mag- 
nus.' Sigurd  answered:  'Men  can  see  that  every  expedienl 
has  now  been  tried,  for  thou  wantest  to  have  two  lots  where  I 
have  one,  but  I  will  not  deprive  King  Olaf  of  any  honour.' 
Then  the  lots  were  put  into  the  cloak,  and  the  lot  of  King 
Sigurd  came  up,  and  he  was  to  rule  "  (Sigurd  Jorsalafari's 
Saga,  c.  21). 

It  seems  to  have  been  the  custom  among  zealous  sacrincers 
to  consecrate  their  lands  and  property  to  the  gods,  without 
however  denying  themselves  the  use  and  enjoyment  thereof. 
That  this  was  customary  all  over  the  North  we  may  conclude 
from  the  mass  of  names  of  farms,  villages,  &c.,  named  after  the 
gods  Odin,  Frey,  and  Thor. 

In  their  colonies  the  people  followed  the  same  custom  of 
dedicating  their  settlements  or  lands  to  the  gods,  and  we  find 
ample  proof  of  this  in  England,  Normandy,  Iceland,  the 
Orkneys  and  Faroe  Islands. 

Among  the  gods  most  worshipped  besides  Odin  were  Frey, 
Thor  and  Njord. 

We  find  from  the  Sagas  that  Frey  was  worshipped  equally  in 
Norway,  Iceland,  and  Sweden,  and  no  doubt  also  in  Denmark. 

One  summer  when  Hallfred  and  his  followers  came  from 
Iceland  to  Norway,  and  asked  for  tidings,  they  were  told  that 
there  had  been  a  change  of  chiefs  in  Norway  ;  that  Hakon 
Jarl  was  dead,  and  Olaf  Tryggvason  had  come  instead  with  a 
new  creed  and  commandments. 

"  Then  the  men  on  the  ship  agreed  to  make  a  vow  ;  they 
vowed  to  give  much  property  to  Frey  if  they  got  a  fair  wind 
to  Sweden,  but  to  Thor  or  Odin  if  they  got  to  Iceland  ;  if 
they  should  not  get  a  fair  wind  to  sail,  the  King  should  have 
his  way."  They  never  got  a  fair  wind,  and  had  to  sail  to 
Thrandheim  (Hallfredar  Saga,  c.  5). 

';  When  Hrafnkel  had  settled  at  Adalbol  (Iceland)  he  had  a 
great  sacrifice.  He  had  a  large  temple  made.  He  loved  Fn-y 
more  than  other  gods,  and  gave  him  one-half  of  all  his  most 
precious  things.  He  settled  in  the  whole  valley  and  gave 
lands  to  the  people,  but  wanted  to  rule  them  and  became  godi 



(= tern  pie-priest  and  judge)  over  them.     After  this  his  name 
was  lengthened  and  he  was  called  Frey's  godi." 

"  Hrafnkel  owned  one  valuable  thing  which  he  loved  more 
than  any  other.  This  was  a  horse  with  a  dark  stripe  along  its 
back  which  he  called  Freyfaxi ;  he  devoted  to  his  friend  Frey 

one-halt'  of  this  horse,  and 
loved  it  so  much  that  he 
made  a  vow  to  slay  any  man 
who  rode  it  against  his 
will"  (Hrafnkel  Frevsgodi's 

C1  "        ° 


Thorkel  had  been  forced  to 
sell  his  land  to  Glum.  Be- 
fore he  departed  from  Thvera 
he  went  to  the  temple  of 
Frey,  leading  thither  an  ox, 
and  said  : 

"  Frey,  who  long  hast 
been  my  patron,  and  hast 
accepted  many  gifts  from 
me  and  rewarded  me  well, 
now  I  give  this  ox  to  thee, 
so  that  Cllum  may  leave 
Thveraland  as  much  against 
his  will  as  I  do  now  ;  let  me 
see  some  token  whether 
thou  acceptest  it  from  me 
or  not.  At  this  the  ox  bel- 
lowed loud  and  fell  dead, 
which  Thorkel  liked  well, 
and  he  was  less  sad  because 
he  thought  his  prayer  was 
heard "  (Vigaglum's  Saga, 
c.  9). 

Fig.    774. — Runic     stone,    with    hammer,    at         rr-.         i  1-1  TTI 

Stenqvista  Sodermanland,   Sweden).     Stones         -L^OF  11K6  F  rey   was    111- 

with  a  similar-shaped  hammer  have  been  found  yoked  The  poetical     and 
in  several  places  in  Denmark  and  Sweden. 

figurative    names    given    to 

him  are  far  from   being  as  numerous  and  beautiful  as  those 
given  to  Odin.    It  was  customary,  at  least  in  the  earliest  times, 

1  In  the  earliest  times  Thor  was  the 
great  enemy  of  the  Jb'tnar.  He  was 
called  upon  by  wrestlers  also  (Gunnlaug 

Ormstungu,  10),  and  showed  his  anger 
by  causing  loss  of  property  (Floamanna 
Saga,  c-  20). 


to  make  the  sign  of  the  hammer  at  burials  and  marriages.1 
This  hammer  was  called  Mjollnir,  and  (Lokasenna)  when  Thor 
is  taunted  by  Loki,  he  answers  each  time  by  these  lines — 

"  Be  tbou  silent,  coward, 
My  Tkrudhamar  (mighty  hammer) 

Shall  take  thy  talk  from  thee." 

But  that  the  svastica  was  emblematic  of  the  sign  of  Thor, 
and  had  been  adopted  as  such  by  the  people  of  the  North,  is 
only  an  hypothesis,  for  it  is  also  found  in  Greece  and  other 
countries  ;  there  is  nothing  in  the  Sagas  to  prove  the  assertion. 

"  Asbjorn  Reyrketilsson  and  his  brother  Steinfinn  took  up 
land  above  Krossa,  and  east  of  Fljot.  Steinfinn  lived  at  Stein- 
finnstadir,  and  no  man  has  descended  from  him.  Asbjorn 
consecrated  his  land  to  Thor,  and  called  it  Thorsmork  "  (Land- 
narna  v.,  2  ch.). 

The  hammer  as  an  ornament  is  not  uncommon,  and  may 
have  been  used  as  an  amulet,  as  is  seen  on  several  runic  stones 
(see  p.  352). 

Even  Christians  called  upon  Thor  for  help  in  sea  voyages 
and  difficulties. 

"  Eyvind,  from  Sweden,  went  on  expeditions  westward,  aud 
in  Ireland  married  Eaiorta,  daughter  of  the  Irish  king 
Ivjarval.  She  bore  him  a  son,  Helgi,  and  they  sent  him  to  the 
Hebrides  to  be  fostered.  Two  winters  later  they  came  back  to 
the  Hebrides,  and  did  not  recognise  him,  as  he  had  been  starved. 
They  therefore  called  him  Helgi  the  Lean,  and  took  him  away. 
He  was  after  this  fostered  in  Ireland,  and  when  grown  up 
became  a  highly  honoured  man,  and  was  married  to  Thorun 
Hyrna,  daughter  of  Ketil  Flatnose.  They  had  many  children  ; 
Hrolf  and  Ingjald  were  their  sons.  Helgi  the  Lean  went  to 
Iceland  with  his  wife  and  children.  He  had  a  very  mixed 
creed ;  he  believed  in  Christ,  but  nevertheless  invoked  Thor 
for  help  in  sea  voyages  and  in  difficulties.  When  he  saw 
Iceland,  he  inquired  from  Thor  where  he  should  take  up  land. 
The  answer  told  him  to  go  to  the  north  coast  of  Iceland " 
(Landnama  iii.,  12).3 

1  Thrymskvida.     The  bridegroom  and 
bride  were  to  be  marked  with  the  holy 
sign.     (Vol.  II.,  p   12.) 

2  St.  Olafs  Saga,  44.  <-  He  was  marked 
after  Thor  and  hammer  in  the  hand." 

3  In  the  account  of  Fornmanna  Sijgur 

about  the  battle  of  Srold,  Eirik  jarl  is 
said  to  have  had  Thor  in  the  prow  of  his 
ship.  "He  took  it  away  and  put  the 
cross  instead,  which  he  did  on  the  advice 
of  Olaf  Tryggvason,"  otherwise  he  would 
not  get  the  victory. 

VOL.  I.  2    A 



Worship  of  Njord. — Njord  l  was  also  worshipped,  though  we 
have  no  account  of  sacrifices  made  to  him  ;  but  the  formulary 
of  the  oath,  "  So  help  me  Frey,  Njord,  and  the  Almighty  As 
(Odin) ! "  shows  the  existence  of  his  worship.  Egil  calls 
upon  him  and  the  two  other  gods  to  drive  Eirik  Blood-axe 
from  the  land.2 

Fig.  775. — I  real  size. 

Fig.  776. — Thor's  ham-  Fig.  777. — Thor's  hammer  and 
mer.  In  a  field.  Laby,  chain  of  silver. — Bredsatra, 
Uppland.  Real  size.  Oland.  Real  size. 

There  were  men  who  did  not  believe  in  and  did  not  worship 
Odin,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  following  example  :— 

"  Then  came  to  Hrafnista,  Framar,  a  viking  king ;  he  was 
a  sacrificer  and  iron  did  not  wound  him.  He  demanded  in 
marriage  Hrafnhild,  the  daughter  of  Ketil  Hseng.  Ketil 
answered  that  she  should  choose  a  husband  herself.  She 
refused  Framar.  Therefore  Framar  challenged  Ketil  to  liolm- 
ganga  at  Arhaug,  on  the  first  day  of  Yule,  and  said  he  should 

1  In  Vsfthrudnismal,  Njord  is  said   to 
have   ruled  over   many  temples   by  the 

old  Asgard. 

2  Cf.  Egil's  Saga,  c.  58. 


be  every  man's  nithing  if  he  did  not  come.  On  Yule-eve  he 
came  to  Arhaug.  Framar  and  the  men  of  the  land  sacrificed 
for  good  years. 

"Bodmod,  the  son  of  Framar,  after  inviting  Ketil  to  his  hall, 
mentioned  Odin.  When  he  named  Odin,  Ketil  got  angry,  for 
he  did  not  believe  in  him  ;  and  sung  a  song  :— 

Odin  worship  J  know  that  Framar 

Did  I  never,  Will  fall  sooner  than 

Though  long  I  have  lived ;  This  high  head. 

Twice  the  sword  of  Ketil  did  not  bite ;  the  third  time  it  cut 
Framar  from  the  shoulder  down  to  the  loins.  Then  Frarnar 
sung  :— 

There  is  courage  in  Haeng,  Now  the  father  of  Baldr  proved  false 

Dravendil  is  sharp,  It  is  unsafe  to  trust  him ; 

It  bit  the  word  of  Odin  Enjoy  well  thy  hands, 

As  if  it  were  nothing  ;  Here  we  shall  part. 

Framar  thereupon  died,  and  Ketil  went  home  "  (Ketil  Hseng's 
Saga,  c.  5). 



The  most  primitive  form  of  altar — The  earliest  Asa  temple  in  the  North— 
The  temples  in  Norway  and  Denmark — Size  and  materials  of  temples— 
Their  magnificence— Temple  priests — Support  of  temple — Holiness  and 
sacredness  of  temples — High-seat  pillars — Sacred  pegs. 

THE  horg  was  a  sacred  altar,  built  of  stones,  often  mentioned 
in  the  Eddas  and  Sagas,  but  never  described,  and  was  quite 
distinct  from  the  stalli,  or  altar.  Perhaps  it  was  an  enclosed 
structure,  or  was  built  over  a  sacrificing  mound  or  upon  some 
elevation.  Its  primitive  form  makes  it  undoubtedly  of  far 
greater  antiquity  than  the  temple,  though  both  were  retained 
as  we  see  in  later  times  by  the  people  in  their  worship. 
It  seems  to  have  been  especially  used  for  sacrifices  to  the 
Alfar  and  Asar ; x  and  from  the  words  of  Freyja  to  Hyndla, 
who  was  her  friend,  when  speaking  of  Ottar,  we  find  that 
a  horg  had  been  raised  to  her  by  the  latter,  and  sacrifices 
made  to  her. 

He  made  me  a  horg 
Beared  of  stones ; 
Now  have  these  stones 
Become  gler.2 

He  reddened  it  in 
Fresh  ox  blood. 
Ottar  believed 
Always  in  Asynjur. 

[Hyndlulj6d,  st.  10.] 

The  first  temple  belonging  to  the  Asa  creed  which  Odin 
is  fabled  to  have  established  was  at  Sigtuna ;  afterwards  the 
most  celebrated  of  all  the  temples  in  the  North  was  that  of 
Upsala,  but  unfortunately  we  have  no  description  of  it  in  the 

1  From  Vafthrudnir's  answer  to  Odin 
about    Njovd's    origin   we    find    that    he 
ruled  over  temples  and  horg.  (Vafthriid- 
nismal,  38.) 

2  Shining  like  glass.     Amber  is  called 
gler;   and  in    Sigrdrifumal,    st.    17,    we 
find   that  runes  were  written  on  gler  or 


The  horg  is  also  mentioned  in  Vo- 
luspa,  7  ;  Helgakvida  Hjorvardssonar,  4 ; 
Landnama  ii.  16  ;  Elder  Gulathing's  Law, 
ch.  29 ;  Orvar  Odd,  p.  29 ;  Hervarar 
Saga,  1. 


Sagas  ;  its  fame  was  so  great  that  on  special  occasions  people 
from  all  over  the  North  came  to  it. 

The  two  principal  temples  in  Norway  were  in  Hlaclir  in 
Thrandheim,  and  in  Gudbrandsdal, 

"  Gudbrand  of  Dalir  was  a  great  friend  of  Hakon  Jarl.  They 
owned  a  temple  which  was  the  second  for  size  in  Norway,  the 
largest  being  at  Hladir  (in  Thrandheim).  The  former  was 
never  unlocked  except  when  the  Jarl  came  thither  "  (Njala,  87). 

The  largest  one  in  Denmark  was  in  Hleidra  (Zeeland),  but 
unfortunately  in  this  case  also  the  Sagas  give  no  description. 
Other  temples  of  less  repute  were  also  built. 

The  Hof  or  temple  was  often  of  large  size,  and  the  Sagas 
give  us  examples  of  their  appearance,  some  of  them  being  of 
great  splendour;  they  were  generally  if  not  always  rectan- 
gular buildings,1  with  a  rounded  addition  at  one  end  like  the 
apse  of  a  church.  Some  had  two  parts :  an  inner  or  more 
sacred  one,  where  the  images  of  the  gods  were  placed ;  and  an 
outer  one,  where  the  sacrificial  feasts  were  held.  At  the 
blotveitsla  or  sacrificial  feast  the  people  seem  to  have  remained 
standing,  high  seats  existing  only  for  the  blotgodi  (sacrificing 
priest).  At  the  farther  end  the  God  (god-idols)  stood  on  their 
stall  (altar). 

"  Olaf  sailed  to  Hladir,  and  had  the  temple  broken  down, 
and  all  the  property  and  ornaments  taken  out  of  it  and  off  the 
gods.  He  took  a  large  gold  ring  from  the  temple  door,  which 
Hakon  Jarl  had  made,  and  then  had  the  temple  burnt. 

"  Olaf  sent  the  large  gold  ring  which  he  had  taken  from  the 
temple  door  to  Queen  Sigrid,  Storrada  (the  Proud)  in  Sweden 
(he  wanted  to  marry  her).  She  had  it  broken,  and  brass  was 
found  inside.  She  got  angry,  and  said  that  Olaf  was  likely 
to  be  false  in  more  things  than  this  "  (Olaf  Tryggvason,  6."), 

Sometimes  these  buildings  were  magnificently  furnished 
and  adorned  with  costly  and  precious  metals  ;  their  walls  were 
hung  with  tapestries,  and  otherwise  ornamented,2  and  on  the 
door  was  a  golden  ring.3  Many  of  them  must  have  been  the 

1  See     Landnama    v.,      2;      Hrafnkel 
troysgodis  Saga,  pp.  4-6. 

2  Olaf       Tryggvason       Heimskringla, 

ch.  65,  66. 

3  Kjalnesinga,     2  ;       Droplaugarsonn, 
Saga  about  Bessi  temple,  Landnama  v.  \-, 



property  of  powerful  and  wealthy  bcendr,1  as  may  be  inferred 
from  the  fact  that  some  chiefs  when  they  left  the  country 
tore  them  down  and  took  them  away,  together  with  the  temple 
mould  on  which  they  stood,  which  was  holy. 

"  Ketilbjorn,  a  famous  man  in  Norway,  went  to  Iceland,  and 
dwelt  at  Mosfell.  He  was  so  rich  in  personal  property  that  he 
told  his  sons  to  make  a  cross-beam  of  silver  in  the  temple 
which  they  were  building.  As  they  would  not,  he  with  his 
thrall  Haki  and  his  bondmaid  Bot  drove  the  silver  up  on  the 
mountain  with  two  oxen ;  they  hid  it  so  that  it  has  never 
been  found  since;  then  he  killed  Haki  in  Hakaskard,  and 
Bot  in  Botarskard  "  (Landnama  v.  12). 

'•Thorhad  the  old  was  temple-priest  in  Thrandheim,  in 
Moeri.  He  wished  to  go  to  Iceland,  but  first  took  down  the 
temple,  and  carried  with  him  the  temple  mould  and  the  altars. 
He  came  into  Stodvar-ijord  and  made  the  whole  fiord  as  holy 
as  the  temple  place  in  Mceri,  and  allowed  nothing  to  be  slain 
there  except  homestead  cattle.  He  lived  there  all  his  life  after- 
wards ;  the  Stodfirdiugs  are  descended  from  him  "  2  (Landnama). 

The  liof-godi  or  temple-priest  was  occasionally  a  woman. 

"  Stein vor  was  a  priestess,  and  took  care  of  the  head  temple  ; 
to  this  all  boendr  had  to  pay  temple  tax.  Steinvor  went  to  the 
chief  Broddhelgi,  for  she  was  related  to  him,  and  told  him  her 
trouble,  that  Thoneif,  the  Christian,  did  not  pay  temple  tax 
like  other  men.  Broddhelgi  said  he  would  take  up  this  case 
for  her  against  Thorieif."  a 

1  Landowner  (see  p.  496). 

2  Adam  of  Bremen  about  1070  writes 
that   not   far   from  Sictonn  (Sigtuna)  is 
the     temple    Ubsola,     where    were    the 
three    gods,    Thor,     Wodan    and    Fricco 
(Frey).    What  he  says  about  this  temple 
makes  it  evident  that  not  only  its  roof 
but  also  the  whole  inside  of  the  structure 
was  covered  with  gold  plates.     Further 
he    says    that    close    to    it    there  was  a 
large     tree,    which    no    one     knew,    and 
which    stretched    its    branches    far    out, 
and    was    always    green,    as    well    as    a 
spring,    near   which    the    heathen    made 
their  sacrifices,  and  wherein  a  live  man 
was   thrown ;    the   people  believed   that 
his  wishes  would  be  fulfilled,  in  case  he 
sank;  also  a  golden  chain  went  around 
the  temple,  and  hung  from  the  roof. 

3  b>a.\o   writes    that    the   Danish   king 

Halfdan  journeyed  to  Upsala  in  order  to 
find  out  the  cause  of  his  daughter's 
sterility,  and  was  answered  that  he  must 
first  satisfy  the  spirit  of  his  brother, 
whom  he  had  unwittingly  slain  ;  this  he 
did,  and  then  she,  in  accordance  with 
the  promise  of  the  oracle,  bore  Harald 

At  the  present  old  Upsala  church 
there  were  discovered  the  foundations  of 
an  old  building,  a  mass  of  coals,  molten 
copper  and  silver  pieces,  with  small 
traces  of  pure  gold,  as  well  as  a  rusty 
nail  with  a  little  gold  on  it,  and  finally 
skulls  of  pigs  and  hawks,  and  cheek- 
bones and  teeth  of  horses,  all  of  which 
tend  to  show  that  the  old  heathen  temple 
of  Upsala,  so  famous  during  pagan  times, 
stood  there.  (Verelius  Notae  in  epist. 
def.  Sheft'eri,  p.  16.) 


A  tax,  as  we  have  seen,  was  said  to  have  been  imposed  in 
Odin's  time  for  the  support  of  the  temple ;  in  the  time  of 
Frey  a  change  took  place,  according  to  the  sagas,  and 
certain  lauds  and  properties  in  the  several  districts  called 
Uppsala-Aud  (Uppsala  wealth)  were  set  apart  for  this  purpose  ; 
but  in  later  times  again,  in  Norway  at  least,  and  probably  in 
other  parts  of  the  North,  the  bcendr  had  to  pay  taxes  for  the 
support  of  the  temples,  some  of  which  seem  to  have  been  the 
private  property  of  the  godi. 

The  temples  were  considered  so  holy  that  any  one  damaging 
them  or  entering  them  armed  was  declared  an  outlaw,  and 
no  one  who  had  committed  an  offence  punishable  by  law  was 
allowed  to  enter ;  such  person  was  called  Vary  i  Veum  (wolf 
in  the  sanctuary).  The  grove  or  fields  surrounding  the 
temples  were  often  regarded  as  inviolate,  so  that  no  act  of 
violence  would  be  permissible  within  their  precincts.  This 
was  expressed  by  the  ancient  name  of  Ve  (sanctuary,  sacred 
place),  which  was  extended  so  as  to  embrace  the  T/m^-place, 
which  was  also  regarded  as  sacred,  while  the  Thing  was 
going  on. 

u  Ingimund  went  into  the  temple,  and  before  he  was  aware 
of  it  Rafn  ran  in  with  a  sword.  Ingimund  turned  towards 
him  and  said,  '  It  is  not  the  custom  to  bring  weapons  into  the 
temple,  and  thou  wilt  turn  the  wrath  of  the  gods  against  thee ; 
such  a  thing  is  impossible  unless  it  is  atoned  for '  '  (Vatns- 
doela;  c.  17). 

"  Bui  went  to  the  temple,  and  when  he  arrived  there,  saw 
that  the  enclosure  as  well  as  the  temple  was  unlocked.  He 
entered  and  perceived  that  Thorstein  lay  on  his  face  in  front 
of  Tiior.  Bui  walked  silently  until  he  came  to  Thorstein,  and 
grasped  his  knees  with  one  hand  and  his  shoulders  with  the 
other  in  such  a  manner  that  he  lifted  him  and  struck  his  head 
so  hard  against  a  stone  that  his  brains  were  scattered  over  the 
floor ;  he  died  immediately.  Bui  carried  him  out  and  threw 
him  near  the  fence  of  the  enclosure,  and  entered  the  temple 
again.  He  took  the  sacred  fire,  and,  kindling  lights,  carried 
them  around  the  temple  and  set  the  hangings  on  fire.  The 
fire  quickly  caught  one  thing  after  the  other,  and  in  a  short 
time  the  temple  was  in  flames.  He  went  out  and  locked  both 
the  temple  and  the  enclosure,  and  threw  the  keys  into  the  fire 
and  departed.  Thorgriin  Godi  awoke  in  the  morning  and  saw 



the  temple  burning  ;  lie  called  on  his  people,  men  and  women, 
to  run  with  water  vessels  and  save  it ;  he  also  called  upon  his 
son,  Thorstein,  but  he  was  nowhere  to  be  found.  When  they 
reached  the  gate  of  the  enclosure  it  was  not  easy  to  pass,  for 
it  was  locked,  and  the  keys  were  nowhere  to  be  found ;  they 
were  obliged  to  break  open  the  door,  for  the  fence  was  so  high 
that  they  could  not  get  over  it.  Entering  the  enclosure,  they 
saw  Thorstein  there  dead ;  the  temple  was  also  locked,  and 
nothing  in  it  could  be  saved.  Hooks  were  brought  and  the 
temple  was  pulled  down,  and  thus  part  of  the  temple  was 
saved  "  (Kjalnesinga  Saga,  c.  4). 

For  this  Bui  was  outlawed  by  Harald  Fairhair,  but  was  sub- 
sequently forgiven. 

"  King  Beli  ruled  over  Sygna-fylki  (in  Norway) ;  he  had 
three  children ;  Helgi  and  Halfdan  were  his  sons,  and  Ingi- 
bjorg  his  daughter.  Ingibjorg  was  fair-looking  and  wise;  she 
was  the  foremost  of  the  king's  children.  On  the  shore  west 
of  the  fjord  there  was  a  large  boar,1  called  Baldr's  hagi  (Baldr's 
field  or  enclosure),  which  was  a  place  of  peace,2  where  a  large 
temple  stood,  surrounded  by  a  high  wooden  fence ;  there  were 
many  gods,  though  Baldr  was  most  worshipped.  The  heathen3 
men  were  so  careful  about  the  temple  that  neither  man  nor 
beast  was  to  be  hurt  there ;  men  were  not  allowed  to  stay  with 
women  there  "  (Fridthjof's  Saga,  I).4 

"  When  Fridtbjof  had  left  Norway  the  kings  held  a  Thing, 
and  outlawed  him  from  all  their  lands,  and  took  to  themselves 
all  his  possessions.  King  Halfdan  settled  at  Framnes,  and 
rebuilt  the  burned  part  of  the  farm  ;  and  they  repaired  the 
whole  of  Baldr's  hagi,  but  it  was  a  long  time  before  the  fire  was 
extinguished.  King  Helgi  disliked  most  of  all  that  the  gods 
had  been  burned.  It  was  very  costly  to  build  Baldr's  hagi 
again  as  good  as  it  was.  King  Helgi  then  resided  at  Syrstrond  " 
(Fridthjof's  Saga,  c.  10). 

The  fact  that  some  of  the  old  temples  were  a  subject  of 
pilgrimage  to  those  who  had  emigrated  from  the  land  is 
further  proof  of  the  veneration  paid  to  them. 

"  Lopt  Ormsson  went  from  Gaulardal  in  Norway  to  Iceland 
when  young,  and  took  up  land  along  the  Thjorsa  river.  Lopt 

1  This    implies    that    in    the    sacred 
precincts  there  were  several  buildings. 

2  Gridastad  meaus  place  of  truce. 

3  The  writer  or  copyist  seems  to  h.-ive 

been  a  Christian. 

4  Fridthjof  means   the   thief  of  peace, 
the  one  who  steals  or  destroys  peace. 



went  to  Norway  every  third  summer  for  himself  and  for  his 
mother's  brother  Flosi,  to  sacrifice  in  the  temple  which  his 
grandfather  Thorbjorn  had  guarded  "  (Landnarna  v.,  ch.  8). 

Inside  the  principal  door  of  the  temple  stood  the  high-seat 
pillars,  which  were  highly  venerated,  and  in  which  were  placed 
ihe  so-called  reginnaglar  (sacred  pegs).  It  was  the  custom 
for  families  to  take  these  pillars  when  they  left  their  old  home 
for  Iceland,  and  when  at  sea  to  throw  them  overboard,  and 
settle  where  they  came  ashore  :  they,  the  timbers  of  the  temple, 
and  the  mould  under  the  altars  of  the  gods,  were  considered 

"  The  summer  that  Ingolf  and  Hjorleif  went  to  settle  in 
Iceland,  Harald  Fairhair  had  been  king  in  Norway  for  twelve 
years.  There  had  passed  from  the  beginning  of  this  world 
six  thousand  and  seventy-three  winters  ;  but  from  the  birth  of 
our  Lord,  eight  hundred  and  seventy-four  winters. 

"  They  sailed  together  till  they  saw  Iceland,  and  then 
separated.  When  Ingolf  saw  Iceland,  he  threw  overboard  his 
high-seat  pillars  for  luck,  saying  that  he  would  settle  where 
the  pillars  went  ashore. 

"  Ingolf  took  up  his  abode  where  his  high-seat  pillars  had 
come  to  land ;  this  was  at  Reykjarvik,  and  there  the  high-seat 
pillars  still  remain  in  a  hall "  J  (Landnarna). 

"  Thorolf  Mostrarskegg  made  a  great  sacrifice,  and  inquired 
from  his  beloved  friend  Thor  whether  he  should  reconcile  him- 
self to  the  King  (Harald  Fairhair),  or  go  away  from  the  country 
and  seek  other  fate.  The  answer  pointed  out  to  him  Iceland. 
Thereupon  he  got  a  large  seagoing  ship,  and  made  it  ready  for 
the  Iceland  journey,  and  took  with  him  his  household  and  live 
stock.  Many  of  his  friends  went  on  the  journey  with  him. 
He  took  down  the  temple  and  carried  with  him  most  of  the 
timbers  which  had  been  in  it,  and  also  the  earth  and  mould 
from  under  the  altar  on  which  Thor  had  sat.  Thereupon  he 
sailed  out  to  sea  with  fair  winds,  reached  the  land,  and  went 
along  the  south  coast  westward  past  Reykjanes.  Then  the 
fair  wind  ceased,  and  they  saw  that  large  fjords  went  into  the 
land.  Thorolf  threw  overboard  his  high-seat  pillars,  which 
had  been  standing  in  the  temple  ;  the  image  of  Thor  was 
carved  on  one  of  them.  He  declared  that  he  would  live  in 
Iceland,  at  the  place  where  Thor  landed  them  As  soon 
as  they  left  the  ship  they  drifted  to  the  western  fjord.  Then 

1  Cf.  also  Landnama.  iv.  5  ;    Kormak's  Saga,  11. 


there  came  a  breeze  ;  they  sailed  westward  past  Snjofellsnes  and 
into  the  fjord  ;  they  saw  it  was  very  broad  and  long,  with  very 
high  mountains  on  both  sides.  Thorolf  named  it  Breidifjord 
(broad  fjord).  Jie  landed  on  the  southern  side,  nearly  at 
its  middle,  and  laid  the  ship  in  the  bay,  which  they  afterwards 
called  Hofs-vag.  They  searched  the  shore,  and  found  on  the 
point  of  a  ness  north  of  the  bay  that  Thor  had  there  landed 
the  pillars.  The  ness  was  called  Thorsness.  After  this  Thorolf 
went  with  fire  around  the  land  which  he  took  up  from 
Staia  (river)  to  the  river  which  he  called  Thorsa,  and 
there  settled  his  ship's  crew.  He  raised  a  large  .house  at 
Hofs-vag  which  he  called  Hofstadir.  There  he  had  a  large 
temple  built ;  there  was  a  door  on  the  side  wall,  near  the  one 
end  ;  inside  stood  the  high-seat  pillars,  and  pegs  were  in 
them  ;  they  were  called  regin  naglar.  Inside  this  there  was 
a  great  peace-place ;  in  the  innermost  part  of  the  temple  was 
a  room  like  the  choirs  in  churches  now,  and  a  platform  was 
raised  on  the  middle  of  the  floor  like  an  altar,  on  which  there 
lay  a  jointless  ring  weighing  two  ounces,  and  on  this  all  oaths 
had  to  be  sworn.  The  temple  priest  had  to  \vear  that  ring  on 
his  arm  at  all  meetings"  (Eyrbyggja,  c.  4). 

After  Ingimund  had  departed  from  Norway  for  Iceland  he 
landed  at  Borgarfjord.  He  was  met  by  Grim  and  Haniund, 
the  former  of  whom  invited  him  to  remain  with  him,  and  take 
whatever  he  wanted,  whether  real  or  portable  property.  For 
the  offer  Ingimund  thanked  him,  but  said  he  would  only 
remain  over  winter,  and  in  the  spring  would  go  to  look  for  the 
place  he  intended  to  settle  on.  The  following  summer  he 
wandered  about,  and  in  the  autumn  took  winter  quarters  in  a 
valley  called  Vididal,  at  a  place  which  was  afterwards  named 

"  When  spring  came  and  the  snow  began  to  melt  on  the 
mountain  sides  Ingimund  said,  '  I  should  like  some  men  to  go 
up  on  a  high  mountain  to  look  if  there  is  less  snow  in  other 
places,  for  I  clo  not  think  we  will  settle  in  this  valley,  for  it  is 
not  an  equal  bargain.'  They  went  up  on  a  high  mountain  and 
saw  far  away.  They  returned  and  told  him  that  the  mountains 
on  the  north-west  were  very  snowless,  and  soon  they  were  all 
on  their  way  thither.  As  they  approached  the  Vatnsda! 
valley  Ingimund  recognised  it  from  the  description  given  by 
the  Fins ;  and  when  they  came  to  the  Vatnsdal  river  Vigdis 
said  '  I  must  rest  a  little  while,  for  I  feel  sick.'  She  gave 
birth  to  a  girl  who  was  named  Thordis,  after  Ingimund's 


mother.  He  then  said  that  the  place  should  be  called  Thor- 
disarholt.  He  chose  a  site  for  his  residence  in  a  very  beautiful 
grove,  raised  a  large  temple,  one  hundred  feet  in  length ;  and 
when  he  was  digging  holes  for  his  high-seat  pillars  he  found 
the  image  of  Frey  of  silver,  as  he  had  been  foretold.  Then  he 
said,  '  It  is  indeed  true  that  you  cannot  go  against  fate,  but 
nevertheless  I  like  this.  This  farm  shall  be  called  Hof 
(temple)  '  '  (Vatnsdaela,  15).1 

Lodmund  the  old,  a  Norwegian  from  Voss,  went  to  Iceland : 

"  He  threw  his  high-seat  pillars  overboard  at  sea,  and  said  he 
would  settle  where  they  were  driven  ashore.  They  landed  in  the 
eastern  fjords,  and  he  settled  in  Lodmnndarfjord,  where  he 
lived  that  winter.  When  he  heard  that  his  high-seat  pillars 
were  on  the  south  coast  he  carried  on  board  the  ship  all  his 
property,  hoisted  the  sail,  laid  himself  down,  and  bade  no  one 
be  so  bold  as  to  utter  his  name.  After  he  had  been  lying 
down  for  a  short  time  a  loud  crash  was  heard,  and  it  was 
seen  that  a  large  land-slip  had  come  down  upon  the  farm 
where  Lodmund  had  dwelt.  He  rose  and  said,  'It  is  my 
imprecation  that  the  ship  which  hereafter  sails  out  from 
here  shall  never  come  undamaged  back  from  the  sea.'  He 
took  up  land  where  the  high-seat  pillars  had  come  ashore  " 
(Landnama  iv.  5).2 

1  Cf.  Landnama,  iii.,  c.  2,  7. 

2  Cf.  also  Vatnsdrcla,  12.       Landnama, 

i.,    c.    10.       Ondvegissula  =  high  -  seat 



Sacrifices  to  Odin — Human  sacrifices  resorted  to  on  momentous  occasions — 
Kings  sacrificed — Children  sacrificed  by  their  fathers — Sacrifice  to  pro- 
long life — Warriors  given  to  Odin  after  battle — Sacrificing  springs — 
Sacrifices  on  Thor's  stone — Sacrificing  place  at  Blomsholm — Sacrificing 
mound — The  blood-eagle  sacrifice — Giving  oneself  to  Odin  on  a  sick- 
bed— The  earliest  account  of  human  sacrifice  in  the  North  —  The 
abandonment  of  human  sacrifices. 

BESIDES  the  sacrifices  already  mentioned  others  were  held 
when  the  aid  of  the  gods  was  required;  the  most  important 
of  them  were  human  sacrifices,  which  were  offered  in  times 
of  great  calamity,  such  as  famine,  or  in  order  to  avoid  some 
great  evils,  or  to  obtain  victory,  or  for  some  other  weighty 

"  At  this  time  occurred  a  very  bad  year  in  Reidgotaland,  and 
it  looked  as  if  the  land  would  become  a  waste.  Lots  were 
then  thrown  by  the  wise  men,  and  they  threw  the  sacrificing- 
chip  ;  the  answer  came  that  there  never  would  be  a  good  year 
in  Reidgotaland  until  the  highest-born  boy  in  the  land  should 
be  sacrificed.  A  Tiling  was  summoned,  and  all  agreed  that 
Angantyr,  sou  of  Heidrek,  was  the  foremost  there,  because  of 
his  kin,  but  nobody  dared  to  mention  it.  Then  they  resolved 
to  submit  this  question  to  the  decision  of  King  Hofund  in 
Glo3sisvoll  (Heidrek's  father);  the  most  high-born  were  to  be 
chosen  for  the  journey,  but  everybody  declined.  King  Harakl 
and  many  others  asked  King  Heidrek  to  assist  in  deciding  this 
question,  and  he  consented.  He  at  once  had  a  ship  made  ready, 
on  which  he  went  with  many  renowned  men,  and  sailed  to 
Risaland.  When  King  Hofund  heard  of  his  arrival  he  at  once 
wanted  to  have  him  slain,  but  Queen  Hervor  remonstrated,  and 
so  managed  that  they  were  quite  reconciled.  Then  Heidrek 
told  his  errand  and  asked  for  his  decision,  and  Hofund  said 
that  his  son  was  the  foremost  in  the  land.  At  this  King 
Heidrek  changed  colour  and  thought  the  case  became  difficult ; 
he  asked  his  father  to  give  him  advice  how  to  save  the  life  of  the 
boy.  Hofund  said  :  '  When  thou  goest  home  to  Reidgotaland, 
thou  must  summon  the  men  to  a  Thing  from  thy  possessions 


and  those  of  King  Harald,  and  there  pronounce  thy  decision 
about  thy  son.  Then  thou  shalt  ask  how  they  will  reward  thee 
if  thou  allowest  him  to  be  sacrificed.  Say  that  thou  art  a 
foreigner,  and  that  thou  wilt  lose  thy  land  and  people  if  this 
is  to  take  place.  Then  thou  shalt  make  it  a  condition  that  one- 
half  of  the  men  of  King  Harald  present  at  the  Thing  shall 
become  thy  men  or  else  thou  wilt  not  give  up  thy  son,  and  this 
shall  be  confirmed  by  oaths.  If  thou  dost  get  this  I  need 
not  give  thee  advice  as  to  what  thou  shalt  do  thereafter.' 
Heidrek  thereupon  took  leave  of  his  father  and  mother,  and 
sailed  away  from  Eisaland.  When  Heidrek  returned  to 
Beidgotalaud  he  summoned  a  Thing,  to  which  he  spoke  thus : 
'  It  is  the  decision  of  my  father,  King  Hofund,  that  my  son  is  t  he 
foremost  here  in  the  land,  and  is  to  be  chosen  for  sacrifice ;  but 
in  return  for  this,  I  want  to  have  power  over  one-half  of  those  of 
King  Harald's  men  who  have  come  to  this  Thing,  and  you  must 
pledge  me  this.'  That  was  done,  and  they  came  into  his  host; 
then  the  boendr  asked  that  he  should  deliver  his  son  to  them, 
and  thus  improve  their  season.  But  after  the  hosts  had  been 
divided,  Heidrek  asked  his  men  to  take  oaths  of  allegiance. 


This  they  did,  and  swore  that  they  would  follow  him  out  of  the 
land  and  in  the  land  to  wherever  he  wanted.  Then  he  said  : 
'  I  think  that  Odin  gets  the  value  of  a  boy  if,  instead  of  him, 
he  gets  King  Harald  and  his  son  and  his  entire  host.'  He  bid 
them  raise  his  standard  to  attack  King  Harald  and  slay  him  and 
all  his  men.  The  war  horns  were  sounded  and  the  attack  made. 
The  battle  soon  turned  against  King  Harald  and  his  men,  for 
they  had  far  fewer  men  and  were  unprepared.  But  when  they 
saw  there  was  no  escape  they  fought  with  great  valour,  and  cut 
down  the  men  of  King  Heidrek  so  fiercely  that  it  seemed 
uncertain  which  would  be  defeated.  When  Heidrek  saw  his 
men  fall  thus  in  heaps,  he  rushed  forth  with  the  sword  Tyrfiu-g 
and  killed  one  after  the  other ;  at  last  King  Harald  and  his  son 
and  a  great  part  of  their  men  fell  there,  and  Heidrek  became 
the  slayer  of  his  father  and  brother-in-law.  This  was  reckoned 
to  be  the  second  nitliings-deed  committed  with  Tyrfing  accord- 
ing to  the  spell  of  the  Dvergar.  King  Heidrek  reddened  the 
temple-altars  with  the  blood  of  King  Harald  and  Halfdan,  and 
gave  Odin  all  the  dead  men  who  had  fallen  there,  in  the  place 
of  his  son  Angantyr,  in  order  to  improve  the  season.  When 
Queen  Helga  heard  of  the  death  of  her  father  she  was  so  affected 
that  she  hanged  herself  in  the  disar-liall l  of  the  temple  " 
(Hervarar  Saga,  c.  11  &  12). 

1  Disar  =  genii. 



Several  instances  are  mentioned  in  which  powerful  kings  were 
sacrificed  or  offered  their  children  on  the  altars  of  the  gods. 

"  There  was  a  great  crowd  of  men  who  left  Sweden  because 
of  King  Ivar's  rule.  They  heard  that  Olaf  Tretelgja1  had 
good  lands  in  Vermaland,  and  so  many  went  thither  that 
the  country  could  not  support  them.  There  then  came  a 
very  bad  season  and  a  great  famine.  They  attributed  this 
to  their  king,  as  the  Swedes  are  wont  to  hold  him  account- 
able for  both  good  and  bad  seasons.  King  Olaf  was  not  a 
zealous  sacrificer,  and  this  the  Swedes  did  not  like,  thinking 
that  therefore  arose  the  bad  years.  They  then  gathered  a  host, 
went  against  the  king,  surrounded  his  house,  and  burned  him, 
giving  him  to  Odin  as  a  sacrifice  for  good  years.  This  was  at 
Voenir  (Venern)  "  (Ynglinga  Saga,  c.  47). 

The  custom  of  sacrificing  a  beloved  child  of  a  chief  was 
considered,  as  it  well  might  be,  the  highest  atonement  that 
could  be  offered,  and  is  one  of  such  antiquity  that  its  birth 
is  lost  in  the  dim  light  of  past  ages.  We  have  remarkable 
instances  of  this  custom  mentioned  in  the  Bible ;  the  story  of 
Abraham  and  Isaac,  and  of  Jephthah's  vow  show  the  existence 
of  the  practice  in  very  early  times.  In  Lev.  xx.  2-4,  the 
practice  is  mentioned  as  taking  place  among  the  heathen; 
and  we  see  that,  as  in  the  North,  the  father  had  absolute  power 
over  the  life  of  his  child,  otherwise  he  could  not  sacrifice  him. 

The  most  thrilling  accounts  of  sacrifice  of  children  are 
those  of  the  sacrifice  by  Hakon  Jarl  of  his  own  son,  and  by 
King  Aun  of  nine  sons.2 

1  Olaf,    son    of    Ingjald    Illradi  .  .  . 
fled  to   a  forest   district  of  Vermaland, 
where  he  cleared  the  land  of  its  woods  ; 
therefore  he  was  called  Tretelgja  (tree- 

2  "The  scene  of  most  interest,  and  at 
the   same  time  of   most   horrors,  taken 
from  the  mythical   or  poetical  history  of 
Greece  is  one  which  represents  the  sacri- 
fice of  Trojan  captives  to  the  manes  of 
Patroclus.    Achilles  himself  is  the  priest 
or  butcher,  for  he  occupies  the  centre  of 
the    scene,  clad    in  brazen    cuirass    and 
greaves,  his  long  yellow  locks  uncovered 
by  a  helmet,  and  seizing  by  the  hair  the 
wretched  Trojan   captive  who   is  seated 
naked  at  his  feet   imploring   mercy,  he 
thrusts  his  sword  into  his  neck,  just  as 
the  '  swift-footed  son  of  Peleus  '  is  repre- 

sented to  have  treated  Lycaon,  the  first 
victim  he  sacrificed  to  his  friend  Patro- 
clus. Above  the  Trojan  stands  Charon, 
in  red  jacket  and  blue  chiton,  wearing  a 
cap  or  helmet,  and  bearing  his  mallet  on 
his  shoulder  ready  to  strike.  The  right 
half  of  the  scene  is  occupied  by  the  two 
Ajaces,  each  bringing  forward  a  victim. 
naked  and  wounded,  whose  hands  are 
bound  behind  their  backs.  Ajax  Tela- 
mouius,  the  more  prominent  of  the  two, 
is  fully  armed ;  and  Ajax  Oileus  is  simi- 
larly armed,  but  without  a  helmet.  The 
funeral  pyre  on  which  the  corpse  of 
Patroclus  was  already  laid  before  the 
sacrifices  of  captives,  horses,  and  dogs 
were  made  to  his  manes  is  not  shown. 
This  episode  forms  the  subject  of  the 
first  wall  paintings  found  in  Etruria 


In  the  beginning  of  the  battle  of  the  Jomsvikings  against 
Hakon  Jarl  and  his  sons  luck  was  against  him,  and  the  Jarl 
called  his  sons  ashore,  where  he  and  they  met  and  took 

"  Hakon  Jarl  said  :  '  I  think  I  see  that  the  battle  begins  to 
turn  against  us ;  and  I  dislike  to  fight  against  these  men ; 
for  I  believe  that  none  are  their  equals,  and  I  see  that  it 
will  fare  ill,  unless  we  hit  upon  some  plan ;  you  must  stay 
here  with  the  host,  for  it  is  imprudent  for  all  the  chiefs  to 
leave  it,  if  the  Jomsvikings  attack,  as  we  may  at  any  moment 
expect.  I  will  go  ashore  with  some  men  and  see  what  can  be 
done.'  The  Jarl  went  ashore  north  to  the  island.  He  entered 
a  glade  in  the  forest,  sank  down  on  both  his  knees  and 
prayed ;  he  looked  northwards  and  spoke  what  he  thought 
was  most  to  the  purpose ;  and  in  his  prayers  he  called  upon 
his  fully  trusted  Thorgerd  Hordatroll ;  but  she  turned  a  deaf 
ear  to  his  prayer,  and  lie  thought  that  she  must  have  become 
angry  with  him.  He  offered  to  sacrifice  several  things,  but 
she  would  not  accept  them,  and  it  seemed  to  him  the  case  was 
hopeless.  At  last  he  offered  human  sacrifices,  but  she  would 
not  accept  them.  The  Jarl  considered  his  case  most  hopeless 
if  he  could  not  please  her  ;  he  began  to  increase  the  offer,  and 
at  last  included  all  his  men  except  himself  and  his  sons  Eirik 
and  Svein.  He  had  a  son  Erling,  who  was  seven  winters  old, 
and  a  very  promising  youth.  Thorgerd  accepted  his  offer, 
and  chose  Erling,  his  son.  When  the  Jarl  found  that  his 
prayers  and  vows  were  heard,  he  thought  matters  were  better, 
and  thereupon  gave  the  boy  to  Skopti  Kark,  his  thrall,  who 
put  him  to  death  in  Hakon's  usual  way  as  taught  by  him  " 1 
(Fornmanna  Sogur,  xi.  134). 

Human  sacrifices  were  resorted  to  by  kings  in  order  to 
lengthen  their  own  life. 

"  When  King  Aun  was  sixty  he  made  a  great  sacrifice  in 
order  to  secure  long  life  ;  he  sacrificed  his  son  to  Odin.  King 
Aun  got  answer  from  Odin  that  he  should  live  another  sixty 
winters.  Thereupon  he  was  king  for  twenty-five  winters  at 
Uppsalir.  Then  Ali  the  Bold,  son  of  King  Fridleif  (in  Deii- 

which     were     illustrative     of     Hellenic  toms,   funeral    observances,   or    religious 

myths,    but  since    their   discovery   that  creed   of   their    native    land "    (Dennis's 

of  the  Grotta   del  Oreo  at  Corneto   has  '  Etruria '). 

afforded    us    additional    proof    that    the  '    From    this    passage    we   see  that   it 

Etruscans    did    not   always    confine    the  was  the  custom  of  Hakon  Jarl  to  make 
pictorial  adornments  of  their  sepulchres    {    sacrifices,  but  unfortunately  the  manner 

to  the  illustration   of  the  peculiar  cus-  in  which  he  made  them  is  not  told. 


mark),  came  with,  his  host  to  Sweden  against  King  Aim; 
they  fought,  and  Ali  always  gained  the  victory.  King  Aim 
left  his  realm  a  second  time  and  went  to  the  western  Gautland. 
Ali  was  king  at  Uppsalir  for  twenty-five  winters,  till  Starkad 
the  Old  slew  him.  After  his  death  Aim  came  back  to  Uppsalir 
and  ruled  the  realm  for  twenty-five  winters.  He  again  made 
a  great  sacrifice  for  long  life  and  offered  up  another  son.  Odin 
told  him  that  he  should  live  for  ever  if  he  gave  him  a  son 
every  tenth  year,  and  would  call  a  herad1  (district)  in  the 
land  after  the  number  of  every  son  whom  he  thus  sacrificed. 
During  ten  winters  after  he  had  sacrificed  seven  of  his  sons  he 
was  unable  to  walk,  and  was  carried  on  a  stool.  He  sacrificed 
his  eighth  son  and  lived  ten  winters  more  in  bed.  He 
sacrificed  his  ninth  son  and  lived  ten  winters  more,  and  drank 
from  a  horn  like  a  young  child.  He  had  one  son  left  and 
wanted  to  sacrifice  him,  and  thereupon  to  give  Uppsalir  with 
the  herads  belonging  to  it  to  Odin,  and  call  it  Tiimdaland.2 
The  Swedes  stopped  him  ;  then  he  died  and  was  mound-laid  at 
Uppsalir  "  (Ynglinga,  c.  29). 

Men,  particularly  the  slain  after  a  battle,  were  sometimes 
given  to  Odin  for  victory,  the  largest  number  ever  given 
being  those  who  fell  at  the  famous  battle  of  Bravalla.  It 
seems  to  have  been  customary  to  redden  the  altars  with  the 
blood  of  the  fallen  chiefs.3 

Prisoners  of  war,  no  matter  what  their  rank,  were  called 
thralls,  and  were  sacrificed ;  sometimes  they  were  slaughtered 
like  animals,  their  blood  put  into  bowls,  and  their  bodies 
thrown  into  bogs  or  a  spring  outside  the  door  of  the  temple 
called  Uot-kelda  (sacrificing  spring),  or  their  backs  broken  on 
sharp  stones  ;  sometimes  they  were  thrown  from  high  cliffs.4 

"  Thorgrim  Godi  was  a  great  sacrificer ;  he  had  a  large 
temple  raised  in  his  grass-plot,5  one  hundred  feet  in  length  and 
sixty  in  breadth,  and  every  man  was  to  pay  temple-tax  to  it. 
Thor  was  most  worshipped  there ;  the  inmost  part  of  it  was 
made  round  as  if  it  were  a  dome ;  it  was  all  covered  with 
hangings,  and  had  windows ;  Thor  stood  in  the  middle,  and 
other  gods  on  both  sides.  There  was  an  altar  in  front  made 
with  great  skill  and  covered  above  with  iron;  on  it  there  was 
to  be  a  fire  which  should  never  die  out,  which  they  called  holy 

1  See  p.  478.  4  Kristnisaga,    Fornmanna    Siigur    ii., 

2  Tiundaland  =  land  of  the  tenth.  I    228. 

3  Hervarar  Saga,  9,  10,  11,  12.  5  I.e.  Tun  or  open  space. 

DOM-PINGS.  369 

fire.  On  the  altar  was  to  lie  a  large  ring  of  silver,  which  the 
temple  priest  was  to  wear  on  his  arm  at  all  meetings.  Upon 
it  all  oaths  were  to  be  taken  in  cases  of  circumstantial 
evidence.  On  the  altar  was  to  stand  a  large  bowl  of 
copper,  in  which  was  to  be  put  the  blood  which  came  from  the 
cattle  or  men  given  to  Thor ;  these  they  called  lilaut  (sacri- 
fice-blood), and  hlaut-bolli  (sacrifice-bowl).  The  lilaut  was 
to  be  sprinkled  on  men  and  cattle,  and  the  cattle  were  to  be 
used  for  the  people  (to  eat)  when  the  sacrificing  feasts  were 
held.  The  men  whom  they  sacrificed  were  to  be  thrown  down 
into  the  spring  which  was  outside  near  the  doors,  which  they 
called  llot-kelda.  The  cross-beams  which  had  been  in  the 
temple  were  in  the  hall  at  Hof,  when  Olaf  Jonsson  had  it  built ; 
he  had  them  all  split  asunder,  and  yet  they  were  still  very 
thick  "  (Kjalnesinga,  c.  2). 

"  On  Thorsness,  where  Thorolf  Mostrarskegg  landed,  there 
was  a  very  holy  place  (helgi-stad) ;  and  there  still  stands  Thor's 
stone,  on  which  they  broke  *  those  men  whom  they  sacrificed, 
and  near  by  is  that  dom-ring  where  they  were  sentenced  to  be 
sacrificed  "  (Laudnania  ii.,  c.  12). 

This  passage  shows  that  the  dom-ring  where  men  were  sacri- 
ficed was  different  from  the  dom-ring  where  the  people  met  to 
judge  ;  the  former  seems  to  have  been  always  made  with  stones, 
while  the  latter,  as  we  have  seen  from  Egil's  Saga,  were  made 
with  hazel  poles.  It  is  probable  that  many  of  the  dom-rings 
which  are  now  seen  were  used  as  sacrificing  places. 

Not  far  from  the  large  ship-form  grave  of  Blomsholm,  in  a 
silent  pine  forest,  stands  a  magnificent  Dom-ring  (see  next  page), 
a  witness  of  the  great  past.  What  unwritten  records  are  stamped 
upon  its  stones !  what  unrevealed  histories  lie  for  ever  buried 
from  our  sight !  how  much  they  would  tell  if  they  could  speak  ! 
The  ring  is  about  100  feet  in  diameter,  and  is  composed  of  ten 
standing  stones.  Near  by  is  the  eleventh.  In  the  centre  is  a 
huge  boulder,  overlooking  the  rest ;  its  uncovered  part  stands 
about  5  feet  above  the  ground ;  it  is  9  feet  long  by  7  feet  wide. 

"  When  Thord  gellir  established  the  fjordungathing  (quarter 
Things)  he  let  the  Thing  of  the  Vestfirdingar  be  there  (on 
Thorsness)  ;  thither  men  from  all  the  Vestfjords  were  to 
come.  There  may  still  be  seen  the  dom-ring  within  which 

1  Meaning,  broke  the  backs  of. 

*J  • 

VOL.  I-  2    B 



men  were  doomed  to  be  sacrificed.     Within  the  ring  stands 
Thor's  stone,  on  which  those  were  broken  who  were  used  for 

l^SiltSUSSjZ^-af,  ^P    ['ill  I J  "-A\\ 

£k£~*-\^-J&  :£wA  •• 

fav  fA,  •,--*,>  •-•->.   fsfei-_T    •'. 

sacrifice,  and  the  blood-stains  can  still  be  seen  on  the  stone 
CEyrbyggja,  c.  10). 



Many  dom-rings  l  are  seen  in  the  country  without  the  sacri- 
ficing stone  in  the  centre ;  these  may  have  been  used  as 
enclosures  for  duelling,  while  others  similar  to  the  above 
engraving  may  have  been  horg  or  sacred  altars. 

Sacrificing  mounds,  and  apparently  mounds  in  which  offer- 
ings were  deposited,  are  mentioned,  but  unfortunately  we  have 
no  description  of  them. 

"  King  Olaf 2  had  there  (Karlsa)  broken  the  sacrificial  mound 
of  the  heathens ;  it  was  so  called  because  usually,  when  they 
had  great  sacrifices  for  a  good  season,  or  for  peace,  all  were  to 
go  to  this  mound,  and  there  sacrifice  prescribed  animals  ;  they 
carried  thither  much  property,  and  put  it  into  the  mound 
before  they  went  away.  King  Olaf  got  very  much  property 
there  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur  v.  164.) 

ivy  .^.p-''  »•-  >^,'< 

i  -t      v. 

Fig.  779.  —Probably  a  sacrificing  slab,  on  a  rocky  ridge  at  Viala,  Ving&kers  parish, 
Sb'dermanland,  overlooking  Lake  Kolsnaren  ;  7  feet  10  inches  in  length,  5  feet 
10  inches  in  width,  and  10  inches  thick. 

"  A  mound  composed  of  earth  and  pure  pfennings  ;  for 
thither  must  be  carried  a  handful  of  silver  and  a  handrul 
of  mould  for  every  one  who  dies,  and  also  for  every  one 
who  is  born.  Odd  said  :  '  Then  kinsman  Gudnmncl  you 
shall  go  ashore  with  your  men  to  the  mound  this  night, 
according  to  this  man's  direction  ;  and  I  will  take  care  of  the 
ships  with  my  men.'  They  did  this,  and  went  to  the  mound, 
where  they  collected  as  much  money  as  they  could  carry,  and 
with  their  burden  returned  to  the  ships.  Odd  was  well  satis- 
fied with  the  results,  and  delivered  the  man  into  their  keeping. 
'  Keep  good  w^atch  over  him,'  he  said,  '  for  his  eyes  are  all  the 
time  turned  towards  the  shore,  so  that  he  could  not  have  found 
it  as  disagreeable  there  as  he  savs.'  Odd  with  his  men  then 

O  v 

1  Not  far   from    nearly   every  one   of   |        ~  King  Olaf  was  on  an  expedition  into 
the  (twenty)  dom-riugs  of  Nerike  there        France, 
is  a  spring  tending  to   confirm   the   Ice- 
landic tradition  of  their  use. 

2  P  2 



went  ashore,  and  up  to  the  mound.  Gudmimd  and  Sigurd, 
meanwhile  watching  the  ships,  put  the  man  between  them, 
and  began  to  sift  away  the  mould  from  the  silver ;  but  when 
they  least  expected  it  he  jumped  up  and  overboard,  and  swam 
towards  the  land.  Gudmimd  snatched  a  harpoon  and  shot 
after  him  ;  it  pierced  the  calf  of  his  leg,  but  he  reached  the 
shore  and  disappeared  in  the  forest.  When  Odd  with  his 
companions  arrived  at  the  mound,  they  each  decided  to  take 
burdens  according  to  their  strength,  but  on  no  account  heavier 
than  could  be  easily  carried  "  l  (Orvar  Odd's  Saga,  c.  9  &  10). 

Among  the  human  sacrifices  were  those  called  Nodorn  (blood 
eagle),  so  called  on  account  of  the  skin  or  flesh  being  cut 
down  the  whole  back  to  the  ribs,  from  both  sides  of  the  spine, 
in  the  shape  of  an  eagle,  and  of  the  lungs  being  drawn  through 
the  wound.  This  special  mode  of  sacrifice  seems  to  have  been 
practised  on  the  slayer  of  a  man's  father.2 

"  After  King  Harald  Fairhair's  sons  had  grown  up  they 
became  very  unruly,  and  fought  within  the  country.  The 
sons  of  Snoefrid,  Halfdan  Haleg  (high  leg)  and  Gudrod 
Ljomi,  slew  Kognvalld  Mcera  Jarl.  This  made  Harald  very 
angry,  and  Halfdan  fled  westward  over  the  sea,  but  Gudrod  got 
reconciled  to  his  father.  Halfdan  went  to  the  Orkneys,  and 
Einar  Jarl  fled  from  the  isles  to  Scotland,  while  Halfdan  made 
himself  king  of  the  Orkneys.  Einar  Jarl  returned  the  same 
year,  and  when  they  met  a  great  battle  took  place,  in  which 
Einar  was  victorious,  and  Halfdan  jumped  overboard.  The 
following  morning  they  found  Halfdan  on  Rinar's  hill. 
The  Jarl  had  a  blood  eagle  (blodorn)  cut  on  his  back  with  a 
sword,  and  gave  him  to  Odin  for  victory.  After  that  he  had 
a  mound  thrown  up  over  Halfdan.  When  the  news  of  this 
reached  Norway  his  brothers  were  very  angry,  and  threatened 
to  go  to  the  islands  and  avenge  him ;  but  this  Harald  pre- 
vented. Somewhat  later  Harald  went  westward  across  the 
sea  to  the  isles ;  Einar  went  asvay  from  the  islands,  and  over 
to  Caithness  (Katanes).  After  this  men  intervened  and  they 
became  reconciled.  Harald  laid  a  tribute  on  the  islands, 
and  ordered  them  to  pay  sixty  marks  of  gold.  Einar  Jarl 
offered  to  pay  the  tribute,  and  in  return  possess  all  the  odals 
(allodial  rights).  This  the  boandr  agreed  to,  for  the  rich  thought 

1  Odd  evidently,  like  some  other  of 
his  countrymen,  as  seen  in  this  narrative, 
was  not  orthodox  in  the  religion  of  his 
fathers,  for  he  robbed  the  graves. 

2  Cf.  also  Ragnar  Lodbrok,  18  ;  Norna 
Gest.  6;  Olaf  Tryggvason,  179;  Sigurdar 
Kvida  Fat'nisbana  ii.,  26  ;  Orkneyinga 

Saga,  ch.  8. 


they  would  buy  them  back,  and  the  poor  had  not  property 
enough  to  pay  the  tribute.  Einar  paid  it,  and  for  long 
after  the  jarls  possessed  all  the  odals,  until  Sigurd  Jarl  gave 
them  up  to  the  men  of  the  Orkneys.  Einar  Jar!  ruled  long 
over  the  Orkneys,  and  died  on  a  sick  bed  "  (Flateyjarbok, 
p.  224,  vol.  i.). 

The  custom  of  a  man  giving  himself  to  Odin  on  a  sick  bed 
by  marking  himself  or  being  marked  with  the  point  of  a  spear, 
probably  arose  from  the  disgrace  which  was  supposed  to  attach 
to  a  man  who  died  unwounded  in  his  bed,  and  not  in  battle. 
Odin  himself1  followed  this  practice,  which  enabled  a  man  to 
come  to  Valhalla. .  When  tired  of  life,  or  of  old  age,  men  gave 
themselves  to  Odin  by  throwing  themselves  from  the  rocks. 

Eirik  the  victorious,  who  fought  against  Styrbjorn,  gave 
himself  to  Odin  in  order  to  get  the  victory ;  and  Harald 
Hilditonn  was  killed  by  Odin  himself,  because  he  had  become 
so  old. 

The  earliest  account  given  of  a  human  sacrifice  in  the  North 
is  that  of  Domaldi,  which,  if  we  may  trust  the  genealogies, 
took  place  about  the  beginning  of  the  Christian  era. 

"  Domaldi  inherited  and  ruled  the  land  after  his  father 
Yisbur.  In  his  days  there  was  in  Sweden  great  hunger 
and  famine  ;  then  the  Swedes  made  large  sacrifices  at  TJppsalir. 
The  first  autumn  they  sacrificed  oxen,  but  the  season  did 
not  improve  ;  the  second  autumn  they  sacrificed  men,  but 
the  season  was  the  same  or  worse  ;  the  third  autumn  the  Swedes 
came  in  crowds  to  Uppsalir  when  the  sacrifice  was  to  take 
place.  The  chiefs  held  their  consultations,  and  agreed  that 
the  hard  years  were  owing  to  their  king,  and  that  they  must 
sacrifice  him  for  good  years,  and  should  attack  and  slay  him, 
and  redden  the  altars  with  his  blood.  And  thus  they  did  " 
(Ynglinga  Saga,  ch.  18). 

"  Before  the  holding  of  the  Althing  (in  the  year  1000)  in 
Iceland  the  heathens  held  a  meeting,  and  resolved  to  sacrifice 
two  men  from  every  district  of  the  land  (Iceland  was 
divided  into  four  quarters),  and  to  invoke  their  gods  that 
they  should  not  let  Christianity  spread  over  the  country. 
Hjalti  and  Gizur  had  another  meeting  with  the  Christians, 
and  said  they  would  have  human  sacrifices  as  many  as  the 

Ynglinga  Saga,  10. 


heathens,  adding  :  '  They  sacrifice  the  worst  men  and  cast  them 
dawn  from  rocks  and  cliffs,  but  we  will  choose  them  for  their 
virtues,  and  call  it  a  victory-gift  to  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ ; 
we  shall  live  the  better,  and  more  warily  against  sin  than 
before.  Gizur  and  I  will  give  ourselves  as  a  victory-gift  on 
the  behalf  of  our  district '  '  (Biskupa  Sogur  i.). 

From  the  following  passage  it  will  be  seen  that  when 
Christianity  gained  a  footing  in  Iceland,  human  sacrifices 
were  abandoned :— 

"  Thorolf  Heljarskegg  (Hel-beard)  settled  in  Forsceludal 
(Iceland)  ;  he  was  a  very  overbearing  man  and  unpopular,  and 
caused  many  a  quarrel  and  uproar  in  the  district.  He  made 
himself  a  stronghold  (virki)  south  at  Fridmunclara,  a  short 
way  from  Vatnsdalsa,  in  a  ravine ;  a  ness  was  between  the 
ravine  and  the  river,  and  a  large  rock  in  front  of  it.  He  was 
suspected  of  sacrificing  men,  and  there  was  not  one  in  the 
whole  valley  that  was  more  hated  than  he "  (Vatnsdcela, 
ch.  16). 

Hallstein,  an  Icelandic  chief,  son  of  the  Norwegian  chief, 
Thorolf  Mostrarskegg, 

"  Dwelt  at  Hallsteinsnes.  There  Hallstein  sacrificed  his  son, 
in  order  that  Thor  might  send  him  high-seat-pillars  (126  feet); 
thereafter  a  tree  came  on  his  land,  sixty-three  ells  in  length 
and  two  fathoms  (6  ells  =  12  feet)  thick;  this  was  used  for  his 
high-seat-pillars,  and  of  it  are  made  the  high-seat-pillars  of 
nearly  every  farm  in  the  Thverfjords  "  (Landnama  ii..  c.  23V1 

*•  Gisla  Stirsson  mentions  the  same. 



The  introduction  of  idol  worship — The  gods  magnificently  dressed — Be- 
smearing the  gods — Descriptions  of  the  gods  in  temples — Amulets 
representing  the  gods — Worship  of  men  after  death — Animal  worship — 
Worship  of  groves  and  natural  objects — Fire  regarded  as  holy. 

IT  is  impossible  to  tell  at  what  time  idols  or  representations 
of  the  gods  came  to  be  introduced ;  it  is  however  certain 
from  the  Sagas,  that  they  were  already  very  common  in  the 
temple  before  Christian  missionaries  came  to  preach  a  new 
religion.  At  some  period,  and  we  know  not  how  the  change 
took  place,  we  see  that  likenesses  were  made  to  represent  some 
of  the  gods,  which  were  often  adorned  with  fine  clothes  and 
ornaments  of  silver  and  gold,  and  as  a  rule  stood  on  an  eleva- 
tion or  pedestal,  which  also  seems  to  have  served  as  an 
altar.1  Occasionally  they  were  besmeared  with  fat,  possibly 
to  give  them  a  bright  appearance. 

There  must  have  been  many  idols  representing  different 
persons  who  were  worshipped  besides  the  Asar,  as  we  find  that 
Thorgerd  Hordabrud  was  also  represented. 

In  the  great  temple  in  Mceri,  in  Norway,  all  the  gods  were 
seated  on  chairs,  and  the  idol  of  Thor  was  magnificently 
adorned  with  precious  metal.  This  god  was  also  in  the 
temple  belonging  to  Hakon  and  Gudbrand  in  Gudbrandsdal. 

"Then  they  (Fridthjof  and  Bjorn)  heard  that  Beli's  sons 
were  in  Baldr's  hagi  at  the  disablot ; 2  they  went  up  there,  and 
asked  Hallvard  •  and  Asmund  to  damage  all  ships  small  and 
large  which  were  near ;  and  so  they  did.  They  went  to  the 
door  in  Baldr's  hagi ;  Fridthjof  wanted  to  go  in  ;  Bjorn  told 
him  to  be  wary,  but  he  wanted  to  go  alone.  Fridthjof  asked 

1  Olaf  Tryggvason,  Hkr.,  c.  76  ;    Hal- 
fredar  Saga,  0;  Vatnsdtela,  c.  10,  16. 

2  See  p.  411,  sacrifice  to  the  P'sir 


him  to  stay  outside  and  keep  watch.  Then  Fridthjof  went  in, 
and  saw  that  few  people  were  in  the  dtsar-hall.  The  kings 
were  at  the  disablot  and  sat  drinking ;  there  was  fire  on  the 
floor,  and  their  wives  sat  at  the  fireside  and  warmed  the  gods, 
and  some  besmeared  them  with  grease  and  wiped  them  with 
a  cloth  "  (Fridthjof  s  Saga,  9). 

When  Sigmund  was  ready  to  star.t  for  an  expedition  to 
avenge  his  father— 

"  The  Jarl  (Hakon)  went  out  with  him  and  asked,  '  What 
belief  hast  thou  ?  '  Sigmund  answered,  '  I  believe  in  my 
might  and  strength.'  The  Jarl  replied,  '  It  must  not  be  so ; 
thou  must  seek  for  help  where  I  put  all  my  trust,  which  is  in 
Thorgerd  Hordabrud.  Let  us  go  to  her,  and  try  to  get  luck 
for  thee  from  her.'  Sigmund  told  him  to  do  as  he  liked ; 
they  went  to  the  woods,  and  then,  by  a  little  by-path,  to  an 
open  space  in  the  forest  where  there  was  a  house  with  a  fence 
around  it ;  this  house  was  very  fine,  and  the  carvings  were  orna- 
mented with  gold  and  silver.  Hakon  and  Sigmund  entered 
with  a  few  men ;  there  were  many  gods,  and  so  many  glass- 
windows,  that  there  was  no  shadow  anywhere.  A  splendidly 
dressed  woman  was  in  the  inner  part  of  the  house  opposite 
the  entrance.  The  Jarl  threw  himself  clown,  and  lay  long 
before  her  feet;  then  he  rose  and  told  Sigmund  that  they 
must  make  her  some  sacrifice,  and  put  silver  on  the  stool 
before  her.  '  But  as  a  mark  that  she  will  accept,  I  want  her 
to  let  loose  the  ring  she  wears  on  her  arm  ;  thou,  Sigmund, 
wilt  get  luck  from  that  ring.'  The  Jarl  took  hold  of  the 
ring,  but  it  seemed  to  Sigmund  that  she  clenched  her 
fist  and  he  did  not  get  it.  He  threw  himself  down  a  second 
time  before  her,  and  Sigmund  saw  that  he  wept ;  he  rose,  and 
took  hold  of  the  ring,  which  then  was  loose,  and  gave  it  to 
Sigmund,  who  promised  not  to  part  with  the  ring  "  (Fsereyinga 
Saga,  ch.  23). 

When  Hakon  Jarl,  after  having  been  baptized  in  Denmark, 
had  again  adopted  the  practice  of  the  pagan  religion, 

"  He  heard  of  a  temple  which  was  the  largest  in  Gautland, 
while  it  was  heathen.  In  that  temple  were  one  hundred  gods. 
Hakon  took  all  the  property  which  was  in  it.  The  men  who 
guarded  the  temple  and  the  sacrificing-place  fled,  while  some  of* 
them  were  slain ;  Hakon  went  back  to  his  ships  with  the  pro- 
perty and  burnt  and  destroyed  all  that  he  met  with  on  the 
way,  and  had  very  much  property  when  he  came  down.  While 


he  was  making  this  ravage  in  Gautland,  Ottar  Jarl,  who  ruled 
over  a  great  part  of  Gautland,  heard  of  it ;  he  quickly  started 
and  gathered  all  the  land  host  against  Hakon  Jarl,  and 
attacked  him.  They  at  once  began  the  battle;  Hakon  was 
overpowered,  and  at  last  fled  with  his  men,  and  went  to  Norway. 
Thereafter  Ottar  Jarl  summoned  a  Tiling,  and  declared  at  it 
that  Hakon  should  be  called  varg-i-veum  (wolf  in  the  holy 
place),  because,  said  he,  no  man  had  done  worse  deeds,  for 
he  had  destroyed  the  highest  temple  in  Gautland,  and  wrought 
many  other  evil  deeds ;  that  no  one  knew  any  example  of 
such  things,  and  that  wherever  he  went  he  should  have  that 
name  "  (Jomsvikinga  Saga,  ch.  12). 

"King  Olaf  Tryggvason  (995-1000)  went  to  Thrandheim  to 
christianize  the  bcendr;  they  agreed  that  he  should  go  into 
their  temple  and  observe  their  customs.  He  went  into  the 
temple,  with  a  few  of  his  men  and  some  of  the  boendr.  They 
were  all  unarmed  except  the  king,  who  had  a  staff  ornamented 
with  gold  in  his  hand.  As  they  entered  there  was  no  lack  ot 
carved  idols  ;  Thor  sat  in  the  middle,  for  he  was  most  wor- 
shipped ;  he  was  large  and  ornamented  all  over  with  gold  and 
silver  ;  he  sat  in  a  splendid  chariot,  to  which  were  harnessed 
two  very  well-made  wooden  he-goats.  Both  the  chariot  and 
the  he-goats  rested  on  wheels,  and  the  rope  around  their  horns 
was  of  twisted  silver.  All  was  made  with  wonderful  skill " 
(Flateyjarbok  L,  p.  319). 


Votive  offerings  of  jewels  and  other  valuable  objects  have 
been  made  in  temples  and  churches  in  all  lands  and  ages,  and 
to  this  day  the  practice  holds  in  some  Eoman  and  Greek 
Catholic  countries. 

The  use  of  small  images  as  amulets  by  the  Northmen  is 
shown  by  Kalf's  answer  when  asked  by  the  King  (Olaf  Trygg- 
vason) where  Halfred  was. 

" '  He  probably  still  adheres  to  his  custom  of  sacrificing 
secretly  ;  he  has  the  image  of  Thor  made  of  a  tooth  in  his 
purse,  and  too  little  is  told  to  thee,  lord,  about  him,  and  thou 
canst  not  see  how  he  really  is.'  The  King  asked  them  to  call 
Halfred  that  he  might  answer  for  himself.  Halfred  came. 
The  King  said,  '  Is  it  true  of  thee,  that  thou  sacrificest  ?  ' 
'It  is  not  true,  lord,'  answered  Halfred;  'now  search  my 
purse  ;  here  no  trick  is  possible,  even  if  I  had  wanted  to 
use  one.'  Nothing  of  the  kind  was  found  with  him  "  (Olaf 
Tryggvason's  Saga). 


"  When  King  Olaf  (Tryggvason)  had  been  a  short  while  in 
Thrandheim  he  heard  a  rumour  that  some  men  in  Thrand- 
heim  still  kept  up  heathendom,  and  that  the  idol  of  Frey 
stood  there  unbroken,  and  that  those  men  who  were  there 
sacrificed  to  the  idol.  When  he  heard  this  he  was  displeased, 
and  at  the  time  he  got  these  evil  tidings  lie  was  at  a  feast. 
There  were  also  some  men  from  Thrandheim  with  him.  He 
accused  them  of  sacrificing  to  Frey  as  some  witnesses  had 
told  him,  and  as  they  knew  that  they  were  not  guiltless  they 
did  not  deny  it  boldly,  but  would  not  acknowledge  it.  He 
said :  '  It  will  be  seen  how  much  of  your  words  is  true,  and  I 
will  try  it  in  this  way — I  command  you  to  break  the  idol 
of  Frey,  to  which  I  am  told  you  sacrifice,  and  if  yon  will  not 
do  that  I  believe  that  the  accusation  I  bring  against  you  is 
true.'  They  answered  :  '  We  will  not  break  the  idol  of  Frey,  for 
we  have  served  him  long,  and  it  has  helped  us  well.'  He  said : 
'  I  and  my  men  will  break  it  though  you  forbid  it.'  They 
answered  :  '  Certainly  we  will  forbid  and  hinder  the  destruction 
of  Frey,  though  we  expect  that  he  will  valiantly  defend  him- 
self and  help  us  if  we  follow  him  boldly,  for  he  has  more 
power  than  thou  thinkest.'  He  said :  '  This  shall  be  tried. 
You  shall  defend  Frey  and  I  will  attack  him  with  God's 
grace  and  the  help  of  good  men.  Let  him  then  defend  him- 
self if  he  is  able.  To-morrow  we  shall  hold  a  Thing  where  I 
appoint.  I  will  take  Frey  there  and  judge  him  boldly,  and 
slay  him,  and  do  the  good  for  you  which  God  teaches  me, 
if  you  will  leave  your  false  belief.'  They  did  not  think  this 
very  advisable,  but  saw"  it  had  to  be  as  the  king  wished. 
They  went  to  their  ships  and  rowed  in  the  fjord  and  strove 
with  both  sails  and  oars.  The  luck  of  the  king  was  stronger  than 
the  witchcraft  of  Frey  and  the  evil  belief  of  those  who  followed 
him,  and  therefore  it  happened  as  the  best  one  (God)  wished, 
and  the  king's  ship  went  much  faster  and  he  got  first  to  the 
temple.  When  he  came  ashore  his  men  saw  some  stud  horses 
near  the  road  which  they  said  belonged  to  Frey.  The  king 
mounted  a  stallion  and  let  others  take  the  geldings,  and  they 
rode  to  the  temple.  He  alighted  from  the  stallion,  went  into 
the  temple,  and  struck  down  the  gods  from  their  altars.  Then 
he  took  Frey  under  his  arm  and  carried  him  out  to  the  horse, 
and  shut  up  the  temple.  He  rode  with  Frey  to  the  meeting 
and  came  before  those  summoned.  His  land-tent  was  pitched, 
and  he  waited  there.  Now  the  men  of  Thrandheim  came  to 
the  temple  and  opened  it  and  went  in.  They  saw  that  Frey 
had  disappeared  and  the  other  gods  were  maimed,  and  they 
knew  for  certain  that  the  king  had  caused  this.  They  went 
to  the  meeting.  When  they  had  come  there  the  king  spoke 


mostly  of  things  connected  with  the  rule  of  the  land  and  the 
laws.  He  then  sent  men  to  his  tent  and  bad  them  carry  Frey 
out,  and  when  he  was  brought  to  the  king  the  king  took  him 
and  set  him  up  and  said  :  '  Do  you  know  this  man  ?  '  They 
answered  :  '  We  know  him.'  '  Who  is  he  then  ? '  said  the 
king.  '  One  whom  thou  dost  not  know  ;  he  is  Frey,  our  god.' 
He  said  :  '  What  good  can  Frey  do,  that  you  think  it  needful 
or  a  great  necessity  to  believe  in  him?'  They  answered: 
"  We  thought  him  very  powerful  until  within  a  few  years.' 
'  Why  is  lie  less  powerful  now  ? '  said  the  king.  They 
answered :  '  Because  he  is  now  angry  with  us,  which  thou 
causest,  for  since  thou  didst  tell  us  to  believe  in  another  god, 
and  we  partly  followed  thy  persuasions,  he  thinks  we  have 
forsaken  him,  and  therefore  will  not  take  any  care  of  us.'  He 
then  said,  as  if  in  mockery  or  jest :  '  It  is  unfortunate  that 
Frey  is  angry  with  you,  but  in  what  way  did  he  before  show 
the  power  which  you  now  miss?'  They  answered:  'He  often 
spoke  with  us  and  foretold  future  things,  and  gave  us  good  years 
and  peace.'  He  said :  '  I  maintain  that  Frey  has  not  spoken 
with  you,  but  the  devil  himself.'  .  .  .  He  took  a  large  axe 
and  went  to  Frey,  and  said  :  '  Now  I  will  try,  Frey,  if  thou 
canst  talk  and  answer  me.'  Frey  was  silent.  '  If  thou,'  said 
the  king,  '  canst  not  or  wilt  not,  then  may  the  one  who  is  in 
thee,  and  has  long  strengthened  thee,  answer.'  .  .  .  Frey  was 
silent.  The  king  said  :  '  Still  I  speak  to  thee,  Frey ;  if  thou 
canst  give  to  men  strength  or  power,  then  spare  it  not,  and  do 
what  thou  art  able  to  do,  and  if  thou  sleepest,  awake  and 
defend  thee,  for  now  I  will  attack  thee.'  He  raised  his  hand 
and  cut  off  Frey's  hand,  but  he  did  not  move.  Then  he 
struck  one  blow  after  the  other  until  he  had  cut  asunder  the 
whole  idol.  .  .  .  (Flateyjarbok,  I.  Olaf  Tryggvason). 

The  gods  were  not  the  only  beings  worshipped,  for  we 
have  some  examples  of  men  being  worshipped  after  their 

"  Olaf  Geirstada-alf  had  a  dream,  at  which  he  was  much 
surprised,  and  which  he  would  not  tell  when  asked.  He  then 
summoned  a  Thing  from  all  his  realm,  which  was  held  at  Geir- 
stadir.  The  king  asked  the  people  to  finish  their  cases,  and 
afterwards  lie  would  make  known  why  he  had  summoned  them, 
as  many  might  think  that  there  was  little  reason  for  it.  '  I 
will  tell  my  dream  here,'  said  he.  '  It  seemed  to  me  that  a  large 
black  and  fierce-looking  bull  entered  the  land  from  the  east ;  it 
went  about  the  whole  realm.  It  seemed  that  so  many  men  fell 
before  its  breath,  that  only  half  were  left.  Finally  it  killed 


my  bird.'  He  asked  them  to  explain  it,  for  he  knew  it  must 
signify  something.  They  answered  that  he  himself  could 
guess  best  what  it  meant.  He  added  :  '  There  have  long  been 
peace  and  good  seasons  in  this  kingdom,  but  many  more  people 
than  it  could  sustain.  The  bull  of  which  I  dreamt  is  probably 
a  foreboding  of  a  sickness  which  will  begin  in  the  eastern  part 
of  this  land,  and  cause  many  deaths.  My  hird  will  be  attacked 
last,  and  it  is  most  probable  that  I  shall  follow,  for  I  cannot,  more 
than  others,  survive  my  destined  death-day.  Now  this  dream 
is  explained,  and  it  will  prove  to  be  true.  I  advise  the  multitude 
here  assembled  to  throw  up  a  large  mound  out  on  the  cape,  and 
make  a  fence  across  it  higher  up,  so  that  no  cattle  can  go 
thither.  Into  the  mound  let  every  man  of  prominence  put  half 
a  mark  of  silver  to  be  buried  with  him.  Before  the  disease 
ceases,  I  shall  be  placed  in  the  mound.  I  warn  all  not  to  behave 
like  some  who  worship  by  sacrifice,  after  their  death,  those 
in  whom  they  trusted  while  alive,  for  I  think  dead  men  can 
do  nothing  useful.  It  may  also  happen  that  those  who  are 
worshipped  will  be  suddenly  bewitched.  I  think  the  same  evil 
spirits  (voettir)  sometimes  do  useful,  sometimes  harmful  things. 
I  fear  much  that  a  famine  will  come  in  the  land  after  I  have 
been  mounded,  and  nevertheless  we  shall  be  worshipped  and 
afterwards,  bewitched  in  spite  of  ourselves.'  It  happened  as 
King  Olaf  said,  and  according  to  his  explanation  of  the  dream. 
The  disease  came  before  it  was  expected,  many  died,  and  all  men 
of  any  prominence  were  laid  in  the  mound ;  for  King  Olaf 
immediately  sent  men  to  make  an  exceedingly  large  mound, 
and  the  people  made  the  fence  according  to  his  advice. 
It  also  happened  that  the  hird  died  last  and  was  mound 
laid.  At  last  Olaf  died,  and  was  quickly  laid  among  his 
men  with  much  property  and  the  mound  was  closed.  Then 
fewer  people  died.  Bad  seasons  and  famine  followed.  It 
was  then  resolved  to  offer  sacrifice  to  King  Olaf  for  good 
seasons,  and  thev  called  him  Geirstada-alf "  (Flateviarbok  ii. 

•>  \  V    V 

C.  (j). 

"  There  was  a  king  named  Godmund  in  Jotunheim  ;  his 
farm  was  called  Grand,  and  the  herad  (district)  in  which  it  was 
situated  Glassisvellir.  He  was  a  powerful  man  and  old,  as  well 
as  all  his  men,  and  lived  for  so  many  generations  that  people 
believed  Odains  Akr  (the  land  of  the  undying)  to  be  in  his 
realm.  The  place  is  so  healthy  that  sickness  and  old  age 
vanish  from  every  man  who  comes  there,  and  nobody  can  die 
there.  It  is  said  that  after  the  death  of  Godmund,  men 
worshipped  him  and  called  him  their  god.  King  Godmund  had 
a  son,  Hofund,  a  seer  and  a  wise  man ;  he  was  made  judge 
over  all  the  adjoining  lands  ;  he  never  gave  a  wrong  judgment ; 


nobody  dared  or  needed  to  doubt  his  judgment"  (Hervara 
Saga,  c.  1). 

"  Thorolf  Smjor  (butter,  because  be  said  Iceland  was  so  fertile 
tbat  butter  dripped  from  every  blade  of  grass)  was  tbe  son  of 
Thorstein  Skrot'a,  son  of  Grim,  wbo  was  worshipped  after  his 
death  on  account  of  his  popularity  and  called  Kamban " 
(Landnama  i.,  ch.  14). 

Animal  Worship. — The  worship  of  animals  and  birds  seems 
to  have  sometimes  taken  place. 

Once  some  men  went  to  Eystein  and  told  him  that  a  large 
host  had  come  into  his  realm  so  hard  to  deal  with  that  it  had 
devastated  all  the  land,  and  left  no  house  standing. 

"  When  Eystein  heard  these  tidings  he  thought  he  knew 
who  these  vikings  were.  He  sent  an  arrow-message  all  over 
his  realm  and  summoned  all  who  were  willing  to  help  him  and 
could  wield  a  shield.  '  Let  us  take  with  us  the  cow  Sibilja,  our 
god,  and  let  her  run  in  front,  and  I  believe  that,  as  before, 
they  will  not  be  able  to  stand  her  bellowing.  I  urge  you  all 
to  valiantly  drive  away  this  large  and  evil  host.'  This  was 
done,  and  Sibilja  let  loose ;  Ivar  saw  her  coming,  and  heard 
her  fierce  bellowing  ;  he  bade  all  the  host  make  a  great  noise 
both  with  weapons  and  war-cries,  lest  they  should  hear  the 
voice  of  the  evil  beast  which  went  against  them.  Ivar  told  his 
hearers  to  carry  him  forward  as  far-  as  they  could,  and  when 
the  cow  came  at  them  to  throw  him  on  her,  and  then  either  he 
or  she  should  die ;  and  to  take  a  large  tree  and  cut  it  into  the 
form  of  a  bow,  and  also  bring  him  arrows ;  this  strong  bow  was 
now  brought,  and  the  large  arrows  he  had  ordered,  which 
were  not  manageable  by  any  other.  Ivar  then  urged  every 
one  to  do  his  best.  Their  host  went  onward  with  great  rushing 
and  tumult,  and  Ivar  was  carried  in  front  of  their  ranks.  The 
bellowing  of  Sibilja  sounded  so  loud  that  they  heard  it  as  well 
as  if  they  had  been  silent  and  stood  still ;  they  were  so 
startled  that  all,  except  the  brothers,  wanted  to  fight  among 
themselves.  When  this  wonder  was  going  on,  those  who 
carried  Ivar  saw  that  he  drew  his  bow  as  if  it  were  a  weak 
elm  twig,  and  they  thought  he  was  going  to  draw  his  arrows 
beyond  the  point.1  They  heard  his  bowstring  sound  louder  than 
they  had  ever  heard  before ;  they  saw  that  his  arrows  flew  as 
swiftly  as  if  he  had  shot  with  the  strongest  cross-bow,  and  so 

1   I.e.,  draw  the  string  so  hard  that  the  point  of  the  arrow  is  inside  the  curve. 


straight  that  one  arrow  went  into  each  eye  of  Sibil  ja  ;  and  she 
stumbled  and  fell  down  on  her  head,  and  her  bellowing  was 
much  more  than  before.  When  she  came  at  them  he  bid  them 
to  throw  him  on  her,  and  he  was  as  light  to  them  as  a  little 
child,  for  they  were  not  very  near  to  the  cow  when  they  threw 
him ;  he  came  down  on  the  back  of  Sibilja,  and  became  as 
heavy  as  if  a  rock  fell  on  her,  and  every  bone  in  her  was  broken 
and  she  was  killed. 

"  Although  the  sons  of  Eagnar  were  valiant,  they  could  not 
stand  both  an  overwhelming  force  of  men  and  witchcraft; 
nevertheless  they  made  a  stout  resistance,  and  fought  like 
warriors  with  great  renown.  Eirik  and  Agnar  were  in  the  front 
that  day,  and  often  went  through  the  ranks  of  King  Eystein, 
but  Agnar  fell "  (Ragnar  Lodbrok's  Saga). 

"  King  Olaf  was  at  a  feast  in  Ogvald  sues.  One  evening  there 
came  to  the  farm  an  old  man,  very  wise  in  talk,  one-eyed,  with 
a  hood  low  down  over  his  face ;  he  could  tell  of  every  country. 
He  began  to  talk  with  the  king,  who  liked  it  very  much  and 
asked  about  many  things,  but  he  was  able  to  answer  any  ques- 
tion, and  the  king  did  not  go  to  bed  for  a  long  time  that  night. 
Then  the  king  asked  if  he  knew  who  Ogvald  was,  after  whom 
the  beer  and  the  ness  (cape)  were  named.  The  guest  said  he 
had  been  a  king  and  a  great  warrior,  and  had  worshipped  a 
cow  more  than  anything  else,  and  taken  it  with  him  wherever 
he  went,  as  he  thought  it  wholesome  to  drink  its  milk.  Ogvald 
fought  against  a  king  called  Varin,  and  fell  in  the  battle ;  he 
was  mounded  there  a  short  way  from  the  boar  and  the  bauta- 
stories  raised,  which  stand  there  still.  In  another  place  near  to 
this  boer  the  cow  was  mounded  (Olaf  Tryggvason's  Saga,  c.  71). 

'•  Floki  Vilgerdarson,  a  great  Viking,  made  himself  ready  in 
Rogaland  to  search  for  Snow-land  (Iceland).  He  made  a  large 
sacrifice  to  the  three  ravens,  which  were  to  show  him  the  way. 
They  sailed  to  the  Faroes,  and  then  put  to  sea  with  the  three 
ravens,  to  which  sacrifice  had  been  made  in  Norway ;  when  the 
first  was  let  loose  it  flew  in  the  direction  of  the  stern  ;  the  second 
rose  into  the  air,  and  came  back  to  the  ship ;  the  third  flew  in 
front  of  the  prow  in  the  direction  in  which  they  found  the  land. 

"  They  landed  at  the  place  called  Vatnsfjord,  in  Breidifjord. 
The  fjord  was  so  full  of  fish  that  they  neglected  to  gather  hay 
on  account  of  the  fishing,  and  during  the  winter  therefore  all 
their  cattle  died.  The  spring  was  rather  cold  there,  and  Floki 
went  up  on  a  mountain  on  the  north  side  of  the  fjord,  and  on 
the  other  side  saw  a  fjord  filled  with  ice.  Therefore  they  called 
the  land  Iceland  "  (Landnarna  i.,  c.  2). 

Natural  objects,  such  as  groves  and  the  sacrificing  stone, 


were  worshipped,  and  no  one  was  allowed  to  look  at  Helgafell 
(a  holy  mountain)  before  he  had  washed  himself  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  no  cattle  were  to  be  killed  there. 

"  Ey  vind,  the  son  of  Lodin,  settled  in  the  valley  of  Flatey 
(his  land  extending)  as  far  as  Gunnsteinar  (Gunn-rocks),  which 
he  worshipped." 

"  Thorir  Snepil  took  up  the  whole  of  Fnjoskadal  to  Odeila, 
and  dwelt  at  Lund  (grove) ;  he  worshipped  the  grove  "  (Land- 
nama  iii.,  ch.  17). 

"  Herd's  brother-in-law  Indridi  wished  to  slay  the  bondi 
Thorsteiu  Gullknapr  (gold-button),  and  waited  for  him  on  the 
way  to  his  sacrificing  house,  whither  he  was  wont  to  go.  When 
Thorstein  came,  he  entered  the  sacrificing  house  and  fell  on  his 
face  before  the  stone  he  worshipped,  which  stood  there,  and 
then  he  spoke  to  it.  Indridi  stood  outside  the  house  ;  he 
heard  this  sung;  in  the  stone : — 


Thou  hast  hither  Before  the  sun  shines, 

For  the  last  time  The  hard  Indridi 

With  death-fated  feet  Will  justly  reward  thee 

Trodden  the  ground  ;  For  thy  evil  doings. 

"  Thorstein  went  out  and  home  ;  Indridi  distinctly  saw  him 
going,  and  told  him  not  to  run  so  fast.  He  went  in  front  of  him. 
and  at  once  struck  him  with  the  sword  of  Soti  under  the  chin 
so  that  his  head  flew  off"  (Herd's  Saga,  c.  37). 

"  On  the  ness  stands  a  mountain,  which  he  (Thorolf  Mostrar- 
skegg)  held  in  such  reverence  that  no  one  was  allowed  to  look 
on  it  unwashed,  and  nothing  was  to  be  killed  on  it,  neither 
men  nor  cattle.  He  called  it  Helgafell  (holy  mountain),  and 
he  believed  he  would  go  thither  when  he  died,  as  well  as  all 
his  kinsmen  on  the  ness.  On  the  point  at  which  Thor  had 
landed  he  made  the  place  for  all  judgments,  and  there  estab- 
lished a  lierad-thing  (a  Thing  for  the  district).  This  place 
was  so  holy  that  he  would  not  allow  the  field  to  be  defiled  in 
any  manner  "  (Eyrbyggja,  c.  4). 

Fire  seems  to  have  been  looked  upon  as  holy ;  and  it  was 
sometimes  the  practice  to  ride  round  the  land  with  fire,  or  to 
throw  a  burning  arrow,  so  as  to  signify  ownership. 

"  Jorund  godi  (temple-priest),  son  of  Hrafu  Heimski,  settled 
west  of  Fljot,  where  it  is  now  called  Svertingsstadir  ;  there  he 
raised  a  large  temple.  A  small  piece  of  land  lay  unsettled  east 
of  Fljot,  between  Krossa  (river)  and  Joldustein ;  Jorund  went 


with  fire  around  this,  and  made  it  the  property  of  the  temple  " 
(Landnama  v.,  c.  3). 

"  Onund  the  wise  took  up  land  in  the  valley  east  of  Merki- 
gil.  When  Eirik  (from  Goddalir)  wanted  to  settle  in  the 
valley  west  of  it,  Onund  threw  sacrificing-rods  to  ascertain 
when  Eirik  would  come  and  take  up  the  land.  Onund  then 
forestalled  him,  and  shot  with  a  burning  arrow  across  the  river, 
and  thus  took  possession  of  the  land  west  of  it  and  dwelt  on  it  " 
(Landnama  iii.,  c.  8). 

The  chief  Blundketil  was  burnt  in  his  house  by  his  foes. 
When  the  chief  Tungu-Odd  heard  of  it  he  rode  to  the  place 
with  the  son  of  the  burnt  chief. 

"  Odd  rode  to  a  house  which  was  not  quite  burnt  down. 
He  stretched  out  his  hand  and  pulled  a  rafter  of  birch-wood 
out  of  the  house,  and  then  rode  against  the  sun  (from  west  to 
east)  round  the  houses  with  the  burning  brand  and  said : 
'  Here  I  settle  on  this  land,  for  I  do  not  see  any  homestead ; 
may  the  witnesses  present  hear  it.  He  then  whipped  his 
horse  and  rode  away  "  (Hoansa  Thori's  Saga,  c.  9). 



The  shaping  of  man's  future  at  his  birth — The  three  Nornir — Their  dwelling- 
place — Their  kin — Good  and  Evil  Nornir — They  water  the  ash  Yggdrasil 
—The  maids  of  Odin — They  determine  the  issue  of  battle — Choose  the 
warriors  for  Valhalla — Figurative  names — They  ride  through  the  air — 
Their  appearance — They  help  warriors  in  battle — Their  sojourn  among 
men — The  first  and  second  songs  of  Helgi. 

IT  was  believed  by  the  Northmen  that  the  future  life  of  all 
men  was  shaped  at  their  birth  by  genii  called  Nornir,  who 
preordained  the  fates  of  men  and  all  that  happened  in  the 
world.  The  gods  themselves  seem  to  have  been  under  their 

There  were  three  Nornir,  called  Urd,  the  past ;  Verdandi, 
the  present ;  and  Skuld,  the  future,  they  dwelt  by  Urd's  well, 
situated  at  the  foot  of  the  ash  Yggdrasil,  whose  roots  they 
watered  with  their  wisdom  and  the  experience  of  the  past:1 
they  spun  the  threads  of  fate  at  the  birth  of  every  child,  and 
measured  the  boundaries  of  his  doings,  and  the  days  of  his 

The  names  of  these  three  Nornir  were  to  those  men  of  old 
the  embodiment  and  philosophy  of  life.  They  could  not  have 
existed  without  their  fathers  before  them,  hence  Urd  was  the 
symbol  of  the  great  past. 

Verdandi,  the  present,  symbolised  the  present  life  itself,  con- 
sequently was  closely  connected  with  Urd. 

1  Of.  also  Sigrdrifumal,  17  ;  Helgi 
Hundingsbani  ;  NornaGest;  Flateyjar- 
b6k ;  Fornaldar  Sogur,  i.  Later  Edda ; 

Orkneyinga;     Egil's    Saga;     Havamal ; 

8  Helgakvida  Hundingsbana. 

VOL.  I.  2    C 



Skuld,  the  future,  represented  the  growth,  the  shooting 
forward,  and  was  an  inseparable  part  of  the  triad. 

"  There  stands  a  fine  hall  under  the  ash,  near  the  well,  and 
from  that  hall  come  three  maidens,  who  are  named  Urd, 
Verdandi,  and  Skuld.  These  forecast  the  lives  of  men,  and  are 
called  Nornir. 

In  Vafthriidnismal,  Odin  asks  Yafthriidnir — 

Much  have  I  travelled, 

Much  have  I  tried, 

Many  powers  have  I  known  ; 

Who  are  the  maidens 

That  soar  over  the  sea ; 

The  wise-minded  ones  travel. 

In  Voluspa,  Heid  the  sybil,  in  her  vision— 

Thence  come  three  maidens,1 

Knowing  many  things, 

Out  of  the  hall 

Which  stands  under  the  tree ; 

One  was  called  Urd, 

Another  Verdandi, 

The  third  Skuld ; 

They  carved  on  wood  tablets, 

They  chose  lives, 

They  laid  down  laws 

For  the  children  of  men, 

They  chose  the  fates  of  men. 

They   disturbed    the    peace 

golden  age  of  the  gods. 


The  Asar  met, 

of    the 

Who  raised  on  the  Idavb'll2 
Altars  and  high  temples ; 
They  laid  hearths, 
They  wrought  wealth, 
They  shaped  tongs, 
And  made  tools. 

They  played  chess  on  the  grass-plot ; 

They  were  cheerful  ; 

They  did  not  lack 

Anything  of  gold 

Until  three 

Very  mighty 

Thurs  maidens  came 

From  Jotunheim. 

"  But  there  are  other  Nornir  who  come  to  every  one  that 
is  born,  to  shape  his  life.  Some  are  of  the  kindred  of  the 
gods,  others  of  Alfar  kin,  and  some  of  Dvergar  kin  "  (Gylfa- 


c.  15). 


Three  great  rivers 
Fall  over  the  field 

Of  the  maidens  of  Mogthrasir. 
They  are  the  only  destinies 
That  are  in  the  world, 
Though  they  dwell  with  Jotnar. 

In  time  the  number  of  Nornir  seems  to  have  increased. 

1  These  three  maidens  came  from 
Jotunheim,  the  home  of  the  Jotnar ; 
here  they  are  no  doubt  meant  to  desig- 
nate the  three  Nornir,  who  came  and 
disturbed  the  peace  of  the  golden  age  by 
establishing  past,  present,  and  future, 

i.e.,    change,    fluctuation,    development, 
and  growth. 

2  Idavoll,  ida,  movement ;  voll,  plain. 
This  stanza  tells  of  the  golden  age  when 
the  Asavs  were  happy  and  lacked  nothing. 


In  Fafnismal,  Sigurd  asks  the  following  question  of 
Fafnir  :— 

Sif/urd.  Fafnir. 

Tell  me,  Fafnir,  Very  different  bora 

As  thou  art  said  to  be  wise  I  think  the  Nornir  are; 

And  know  many  things  well,  'I'hey  own  not  kin  together, 

Who  are  the  maidens  Some  are  Asar-born, 

That  are  helping  in  need  Others  are  Alfar-born, 

And  deliver  mothers  of  children  ?  Others  are  daughters  of  Dvalin.1 


Atli  says  to  his  wife  Gudrun  :— 

The  Noruir  have  just  Gudrun. 

Roused  me  It  forebodes  fire 

With  forebodings  of  evil  ;  When  one  dreams  of  iron  ; 

I  want  thee  to  read  them.  The  anger  of  woman 

Methought  that  thou,  Means  pride  and  sorrow  ; 

Gudrun,  Gjuki's  daughter,  I  shall  have  to  bum  thee2 

Didst  thrust  me  through  Against  sickness, 

With  a  poisoned  sword.  Heal  thee  and  help  thee, 

Though  I  hate  thee. 

(Gudriiuarkvida,  11.) 

"  Gangleri  said  :  '  If  the  Nornir  rule  the  fates  of  men,  they 
deal  them  out  very  unevenly,  for  some  have  a  happy  and  rich 
life,  while  others  have  little  property  or  praise  —  some  a  long 
life,  some  a  short  one.'  Har  replied  :  '  Good  Nornir,  and  of 
good  kindred,  forecast  a  happy  life  ;  but  when  men  have  evil 
fates,  the  evil  Nornir  cause  it  '  '  (Gylfaginning,  c.  15). 

The  water  with  which  the  Nornir  watered  the  ash  Ygg- 
drasil  was  considered  holy. 

"  Further  it  is  told  that  the  Nornir  who  live  at  Urd's  well 
take  water  out  of  it  every  day,  and  also  the  clay  which  lies 
round  it,  and  pour  it  over  the  ash-tree  that  the  branches  may 
not  dry  up  or  grow  rotten.  This  water  is  so  holy  that  every- 
thing which  comes  into  the  \vell  grows  white  like  the  film  called 
skjatt  which  lies  next  to  the  eggshell.  The  dew  which  falls 
thence  on  the  earth  is  called  honey-dew,  and  the  bees  feed  on  it. 
Two  birds  live  in  Urd's  well,  called  swans,  and  from  them  has 
sprung  the  kin  of  birds  with  this  name  "  (Gylfaginning,  c.  16). 

The  Valkyrias  were  the  maids  of  Odin,  and  were  sent  by  him 
to  determine  the  issue  of  battle,  and  choose  those  who  were  to 


Grimnismal,  gives  a  somewhat  simi- 

2  Burn  a  spot  on  the  skin  as  a  cure. 

lar  account. 

2  c  2 


fall  and  dwell  with  him  in  Valhalla.  The  belief  in  Valkyrias 
appears  to  have  been  of  very  great  antiquity,  and  is  one  of  the 
most  striking,  poetical,  and  grand  features  of  the  Asa  faith. 
In  no  record  of  the  religions  that  have  come  down  to  us  do 
we  find  anything  that  would  make  us  suppose  that  such  belief 
ever  existed  in  other  parts  of  the  world,  and  it  was  well 
adapted  to  the  creed  of  a  people  among  whom  war  and  the 
conquest  of  other  lands  were  leading  features. 

Heid  in  Voluspa  gives  the  names  of  the  Valkyrias  and  in 
her  version  we  learn  that 

She  saw  Valkyrias  Gurm,  Hild,  Gondul, 

Come  from  far  off,  And  Geirskogul ; 

Eeady  to  ride  Now  are  numbered 

To  Goth-thjod.1  The  maidens  of  Herjan,2 

Skuld  held  a  shield,  The  Valkyrias  ready 

Skogul  was  next,  To  ride  over  the  ground. 

So  we  see  that  originally  the  number  of  Valkyrias  belonging 
to  Odin  was  only  six,  afterwards  their  number  increased. 
Sometimes  they  appear  nine  together,  at  others  treble  that 

Others  are  mentioned  in  Grimnismal.  Odin,  speaking  to 
Geirrod,  says— 

I  want  Hrist  and  Mist  Goll  and  Geirahod, 

To  carry  the  horn  to  me ;  Kandgrid  and  Kadgrid, 

Skeggjold  and  Skogul,  And  Eeginleif, 

Hild  and  Thrud,  They  carry  ale  to  the  Einherjar." 3 

Hlokk  and  Herfjotur, 

"  Hjorvard  and  Sigrlin  had  a  large  and  handsome  son.  He 
was  silent,  and  no  name  had  been  fastened  to  him.4  He  sat 
on  a  mound,  and  saw  nine  Valkyrjas  riding,  and  one  of  them 
seemed  the  foremost — she  sang  :— 

Late  wilt  thou,  Helgi,  On  the  Eodnlsvellir,6 

Rule  over  rings5  If  thou  art  ever  silent." 

"The  daughter  of  King  Eylirni  was  Svava;  she  was  a 
Valkyrja  and  rode  over  air  and  sea ;  she  gave  this  name  to 
Jlelgi,  and  often  afterwards  sheltered  him  in  battles  "  (Helga 
Kvida  Hjorvardssonar). 

The  following  among  other  poetical  and  figurative  names 

1  Thjdd  nation,  nation  of  the  Goths.       I  4  See  pp.  3t,  32. 

2  Odin.  5  Wealth. 

3  Warriors.  e  Sun  plains. 


are  given  to  the  Valkyrias : — The  maidens  of  victory,  the 
goddesses  of  the  fight,  the  graspers  of  spears,  the  witches  of 
the  shield,  the  maidens  of  the  slain,  the  exultant  ones,  the 
strong  one,  the  entangling  one,  the  silent  one,  the  storm- 
raisers.  They  are  mentioned  as  riding  through  the  air,  over 
the  sea,  and  amid  the  lightning,  helmet-clad,  with  bloody 
brynjas,  and  glittering  spears  ;  the  spear  which  carried  death 
and  victory  being  the  emblem  of  Odin.  When  their  horses 
shake  their  manes,  the  froth  which  comes  from  their  bitted 
mouths  drops  as  dew  into  the  valleys,  and  hail  falls  from  their 
nostrils  into  the  woods. 

The  slain  were  called  Val  (chosen),  and  belonged  to  Odin. 
From  the  word  Val  are  derived  the  names  of  Valkyrias, 
Valiodr  (the  father  of  the  slain),  Valhalla  (the  hall  of  the 
slain),  Valol  (Held  of  battle,  field  of  the  slain),  and  probably 
also  of  those  birds  of  prey  which  after  the  battle  visited  the 
field  of  action. 

Skidd,  the  youngest  of  the  three  Nornir,  who  personified  the 
future,  followed  the  Valkyrias,  probably  in  order  to  witness 
the  decrees  of  fate  given  to  men  at  their  birth. 

"  There  are  others  that  have  to  serve  in  Valholl,  carry  drink 
and  take  care  of  the  table-dressing  and  the  beer  cups.  These 
are  called  Valkyrias;  Odin  sends  them  to  every  battle  ;  they 
choose  death  for  men  and  rule  victory.  Gunn  and  Eota  anil 
the  youngest  Norn.  Skuld,  always  ride  to  choose  the  slain  and 
rule  man-payings  "  (Gylfaginning,  ch.  36). 

It  was  believed  that  during  a  battle  warriors  sometimes  saw 
Valkyrias  coming  to  their  help :  how  grand  and  beautiful 
must  have  been  the  vision  created  in  their  mind  by  their  faith 
in  them,  as  they  thought  they  saw  them  riding  on  their  fiery 
steeds,  and  sweeping  over  the  battle-field,  by  land  or  by  sea. 
It  is  hard  to  realise  a  grander  picture  for  a  warrior  to  behold. 

Helgi  saw : — 

Three  times  nine  maidens,  Dew  into  the  deep  dales, 

But  one  rode  foremost  Hail  on  the  lofty  woods  ; 

A  white  maiden  under  helmet ;         Thence   come    good    seasons   among 
Their  horses  trembled,  men, 

From  their  manes  fell  All  that  I  saw  was  loathsome  to  me. 

[Helga  Kvida  Hjorvardssonar.] 



Sometimes  the  Valkyrias  came  to  earth  and  remained 
among  men. 

"  Nidud  was  a  king  in  Sweden.  He  had  two  sons  and  one 
daughter,  whose  name  was  Bodvild.  There  were  three  brothers, 
sons  of  the  Finna-king,  one  Slagfinn,  the  other  Egil,  and  the 
third  Volimd  ;  they  ran  on  snow-shoes,  and  hunted  wild  beasts. 
They  came  to  the  Ultdal,  where  there  is  a  lake  called  Ulfsjar 
(Wolfs  lake),  and  there  made  themselves  a  house.  Early  one 
morning  thev  found  at  the  shore  of  the  lake  three  women 

O  •/ 

who  were  spinning  flax,  near  them  lay  their  swan-skins ;  they 
were  Valkyrias.  Two  of  them  were  daughters  of  King  Hlodver 
(Louis),  Hladgunn  Svanhyit  (Svan-white),  and  Hervor  Alvitr 
(All- wise)  ;  and  the  third  Olriin,  daughter  of  Kjar  of  Valland. 
The  brothers  took  them  to  their  house.  Egil  got  Olriin ; 
Slagfinn,  Swan-white ;  and  Volund,  All-wise.  There  they 
dwelt  for  seven  winters ;  after  which  the  women  went  to  visit 
battle-fields,  and  did  not  return.  Then  Egil  went  on  snow- 
shoes  to  look  for  Olriin,  and  Slagfinn  for  Svan-white,  while 
Volund  remained  in  Ulfdal.  He  was  the  most  skilled  smith 
that  is  spoken  of  in  ancient  Sagas.  King  Nidud  had  him 
captured,  as  is  told  in  the  song  "  (Volundar  Kvida). 

Helga  Kvida  gives  an  account  of  how  Sigrun,  a  Valkyria, 
betrothed  herself  to  Helgi,  and  of  how  she  comes  with  other 
Valkyrias  to  protect  him.  Their  appearance  is  thus  de- 
scribed : — 

Then  gleams  flashed 

From  Logafjoll,1 

And  from  those  gleams 

Came  lightning; 

The  high  ones 2  rode  helmet-clad 

Down  on  the  Himinvangar ; 

Their  brynjas  were 


And  from  their  spears 

Sprang  rays  of  light. 

Early  (in  the  day)  asked 

From  the  wolf-lair 

The  doyling  (the  king)  about  this 

The  southern  disir3 

If  they  would  home 

With  Inklings 4 

That  night  go  ; 

There  had  been  clang  of  bowstrings. 

But  from  the  horse 

The  daughter  of  Hogni  (Sigrun) 

Hushed  the  clatter  of  shields ; 

She  said  to  the  king, 

I  think  we  have 

Other  work  to  do 

Than  drink  beer 

With  the  ring-breaker  (Helgi) 

1  Fire-mountain.  Here  the  text  is  cor- 
rupted, but  I  follow  Bugge  in  the  sug- 
gestion that  this  is  a  place-name,  the 
battle1  taking  place  on  the  plain  beneath 
the  Logafjoll,  from  which  the  Valkyrias 
come  down  to  take  the  slain. 

•  The  Valkyrias. 

3  Valkyrias  are  here  called  disir,  guar- 
dian spirits,  and  seem  to  come  from  the 
South,  the  ancient  home  of  the  Asar. 

4  Chiefs.      Helgi  invited  them  to  come 
home  with  him  and  his  chiefs  that  night, 
and  they  would  not. 



In  the  second  song  of  this  poem  we  learn  the  mode  of 
thought,  the  religious  ideas  and  customs  of  the  people  of  the 
North,  and  glean  some  new  facts ;  that  men  and  women  were 
sometimes  thought  to  be  born  again  ;  that  Helgi  derived  his 
name  from  Helgi  Hjorvardson,  and  that  he  was  brought  up  by 
Hagal.  His  foes,  and  not  the  sons  of  Hunding,  search  for 
him,  but  he  escapes  by  dressing  himself  in  the  garb  of  a 
bondwoman.  This  episode  of  his  life  and  the  following  fights 
must  have  taken  place  after  those  of  the  first  song.  The 
connection  between  the  two  poems  is  somewhat  obscure. 

"  Granmar  was  a  powerful  king  who  lived  at  Svarinshaug  ;  he 
had  many  sons,  among  them  Hodbrod,  Gudmund,  and  Starkad. 
Hodbrod  was  at  an  appointed  meeting J  of  kings  ;  he  betrothed 
himself  to  Sigrun,2  daughter  of  Hogni.  When  she  heard  this 
she  rode  with  Valkyrias  over  the  sea  and  air  to  search  for  Helgi. 
He  was  then  at  Logafjoll  (Fire-mountains),  and  had  fought 
against  the  sons  of  Hunding  ;  there  he  slew  Alt'  and  Eyjolf, 
Hjorvard  and  Hervard  ;  he  was  very  weary  of  the  fight,  and  sat 
down  at  Arastein  (Eagle's  stone)  ;  where  .Sigrun  found  him, 
threw  her  arms  about  his  neck  and  kissed  him,  and  told  him 
of  her  errand,  as  is  related  in  the  old  Volsunga-kvida : — 3 

Sigrun. sought 
The  glad  king,4 
She  took  Helgi's 
Hand  in  hers ; 

She  kissed  and  greeted 
The  king  under  his  helmet ; 
Then  did  his  mind 
Turn  to  the  maiden. 

She  said  she  loved 
With  all  her  mind 
The  son  of  Sigmund 
Ere  she  had  seen  him. 

I  was  to  Hodbrod 
In  the  host  betrothed, 
But  another  chief 
I  wanted  to  have. 

Yet  I  fear,  chief, 

The  anger  of  my  kinsmen  ; 

I  have  broken 

The  mind-marriage  of  my  father.5 

The  maiden  of  Hogni 
Spoke  not  against  her  mind  ; 
She  said  she  would 
Have  the  love  of  Helgi. 


Do  not  care  for 
The  wrath  of  Hogni, 
Nor  for  the  ill-will 
Of  thy  kin  ; 

Thou  wilt,  young  maiden, 
Live  with  me ; 

Thou,  good  maiden,  hast  kinsmen 
Whom  I  do  not  fear. 

1  We   find  that  kings  sometimes  had 
meetings  among  themselves. 

2  Probably  she  was  betrothed  by  her 
lather,  not  being  present  herself. 

3  From  this  we  see  that  this  beautiful 
story  is  derived  from  the  lost  Volsunga- 

kvida    (a   great    loss),    and    from    which 
Volsunga  itself  is  probably  mostly  taken. 

4  Glad  because  of  victory. 

5  The  marriage  which   her  father  hail 
sot  his  mind  upon. 


"  Helgi  then  gathered  a  large  fleet,  and  sailed  to  Frekastein 
(Wolfs  stone).  At  sea  they  met  with  a  dangerous  tempest, 
and  lightning  flashed  down  on  the  ships.  They  saw  nine 
Valkyrias  riding  in  the  air,  and  recognised  Sigrun  ;  then  the 
storm  abated,  and  they  came  safely  to  the  land.  The  sons  of 
Granmar  sat  on  a  rock  when  the  ships  sailed  towards  the  shore. 

"  Gudmund  rode  home  with  news  of  war ;  then  the  sous  of 
Granmar  gathered  a  host.  Many  kings  came  there.  There 
were  Hogni,  the  father  of  Sigrun,  and  his  sons  Bragi  and  Dag. 
There  was  a  great  battle,  and  the  sons  of  Granmar  fell,  with 
all  their  chiefs,  except  Dag,  son  of  Hogni,  whose  life  was  spared, 
and  who  promised  on  oath  to  follow  the  Volsungs.  Sigrun 
went  among  the  slain,  and  found  Hodbrod  near  death's  door. 
She  sang  :— 

Sigrun  of  Sevafjoll1  Gone  is  the  life 

Will  not,  Of  Granmar's  sons  ; 

King  Hodbrod,  The  grey  steeds  2  of  jotun-women 

Fall  into  thy  arms  ;  Many  corpses  tear. 

She  met  Helgi,  who  answered  :— 

All  is  not  given  to  thee,  This  morning  fell 

Mighty  wight  ;3  At  Frekastein 

For  I  say  the  Nornir  Bragi  and  Hogni ; 

Wield  some  power.  I  was  their  slayer. 

"  Helgi  married  Sigrun,  and  they  had  sons;  but  Helgi  did  not 
live  long.  Hogni's  son  Dag  sacrificed  to  Odin  for  revenge  on 
his  father,  and  Odin  lent  him  his  spear.  Dag  met  his  brother- 
in-law  Helgi  at  Fjoturlund;  he  thrust  the  spear  through  him, 
Helgi  fell,  and  Dag  rode  to  Sevafjoll  and  told  Sigrun  the 
tidings  :— 

Loth  am  I,  sister,  And  stood  on 

To  tell  thee  the  sorrow,  The  neck  of  hildings.5 

For  unwilling  have  I 

Made  my  sister  weep;  Sigrun. 

This  morning  fell  Thee  shall  all 

At  Fjoturlund  Oaths  harm 6 

The  Budlung  4  who  was  Which  thou  to  Helgi 

The  best  in  the  world,  Hast  sworn 

1  Sigrun    speaks    to    the    dying    Hod- 
brod on  the  battle-field. 

2  Wolves. 

Meaning :  "  Everything  is  not  in  thy 
power,  as  the  Nornir  have  great  power 
also  over  the  fates  of  men."  The  death 




of  Helgi  was  against  Sigrun's  will.  done  so. 

5  A  custom  found  in  the  Old  Testa- 
ment (Joshua),  of  putting  the  foot  on 
the  subdued  king's  neck. 

e  Dag  broke  his  oath,  as  we  have  seen 
before  ;  and  Sigrun  cursed  him  for  having 



At  the  bright 

Waters  of  Leiptr 1 

And  at  the  rain-cold 

Eock  of  the  sea. 

The  ship  shall  not  move 

Which  should  carry  thee, 

Though  a  fair  wind  to  thy  wish 

Blows  on  it. 

The  horse  shall  not  run 

Which  is  to  run  with  thee, 

Though  thou  hast  to 

Escape  from  thy  foes. 

The  sword  shall  not  bite 
Which  thou  drawest, 
Except  when  it  sings 
About  thy  own  head  ; 
Then  were  the  death 
Of  Helgi  avenged, 
If  thou  wert  an  outlaw 
Out  in  the  forest, 
Lacking  property 
And  all  enjoyment, 

And  hadst  not  food 
Unless  thou  tearest  corpses. 


Mad  art  thou,  sister, 
And  out  of  thy  wits 
As  thou  invokest  curses 
On  thy  brother  ; 
Odin  alone 
Causes  all  the  ills, 
For  between  kinsmen 
Eunes  of  strife  he  bore. 

Thy  brother  offers  thee 
Eed  rings,2 
All  Vandilsve3 
And  Vigdalir  ;4 
Take  half  of  my  lands 
As  indemnity  for  sorrow, 
Thou  ring-adorned  maiden 
And  thy  sons. 

"  Sigrun  was  short-lived  from  grief  and  sorrow.  It  was  the 
belief  in  olden  times  that  men  were  reborn,  but  now  it  is  called 
an  old  woman's  story.  It  is  said  that  Helgi  and  Sigrun  were 
born  again  ;  he  was  then  named  Helgi  Haddingjaskati,  and  she 
Kara,5  Halfdan's  daughter,  '  as  is  sung  in  the  lay  of  Kara,6  and 
she  was  a  Valkyria.' '  [Helgi  Hundingsbani  II.] 

1  Leiptr  =  flash  of  lightning.    Probably 
this  was  a  swift  river,  or  waterfall. 

2  Here  we  see  the  custom  of  wergild, 
so  often  described  in  the  Sagas. 

3  The  temple  of  Vandil. 

4  Valleys  of  fight. 

5  Cf.  also  Helga  Kvida  Hjorvardsonar. 

6  The  song  of  Kara  is  lost.     Svafa  in 
the  first  song,  Sigrun  in  the  second,  is 
Svafa  reborn ;  and  Kara  in  the  third  and 
lost  song  is  Sigrun  reborn. 



Prophetic  sibyls — Great  reputation  of  some  Volvas — Ceremonies  attendant  on 
their  prophecies — Payment  to  the  sibyls — Their  descent — Incantations- 
Cats  favourites  of  the  sibyls. 

THE  utterances  of  the  Vohas  or  sibyls,1  who  could  tell  the 
past  and  the  future,  were  given  to  the  people  as  coming  from 
the  gods ;  and  by  special  preparations  and  conjurations  they 
made  men  believe  that  they  were  placed  in  such  a  state  that 
they  could  see  into  the  decrees  of  fate,  or,  as  they  them- 
selves expressed  it,  had  been  informed  of  things  which  were 
previously  secret. 

Some  Volvas  had  a  greater  reputation  than  others,  and  in  time 
of  great  calamity  people  sent  for  them,  in  order  to  know  the 
decrees  of  impending  fate.  When  the  Volva  came  a  seat 
of  honour  was  assigned  to  her,  a  separate  feast2  prepared, 
and  among  the  dishes  one  made  of  the  various  hearts  of 

When  the  principal  question  was  to  be  answered,  special 
preparations  were  required.  Seid3  was  to  be  performed.  A 
Seid-hjall,  or  platform  consisting  of  a  flat  stone,  was  laid  upon 
three  or  four  posts,  and  women  were  to  be  found  who  knew 
how  to  recite  or  sing  the  so-called  Vardlokur.4  When  all  this 
was  ready,  and  the  Volva  on  the  platform,  the  women  formed 
in  a  circle  round  it,  and  the  effective  song  was  chanted  while 

1  In  Orvar  Odd  we  see  that  the  Volvas 
performed  the  foretelling  ceremony  with 
fifteen  boys  and  fifteen  girls.  It  seems 
that  night  was  the  chosen  time.  The 
boys  and  girls  doubtless  stood  in  a  rinsj 
round  the  platform,  and  saner  incanta- 
tions. They  had  a  stick,  with  which 
they  struck  the  cheek  of  a  man,  and 

brought  oblivion  on  him,  and  then,  by 
striking  him  on  the  other  cheek,  gave 
him  back  his  memory. 

2  Kirik  the  red,  5. 

3  Boiling  "  seid,"  or  the  witches'  broth, 
was  the  chief  art  in  witchcraft. 

4  Only  found  in  Thorfin  Karlsefni. 



the  seeress,  with  the  strangest  gesticulations,  made  her  con- 
jurations and  received  her  revelations.1 

The  two  brothers  Halfdan  and  Frodi  were  kings  (in  Den- 
mark). Frodi  slew  Halfdan,  but  could  not  find  his  sons 
Helgi  and  Hroar,  and  therefore  invited  Scevil  jarl,  who  was 
married  to  their  sister  Signy,  to  a  feast,  as  Frodi  suspected 
that  the  boys  were  staying  with  him. 

"A  Volvo,  called  Heid  was  there;  Frodi  asked  her  to  use 
her  art,  and  try  what  she  could  tell  of  the  boys.  He  enter- 
tained her  splendidly,  and  seated  her  on  a  high  seid-platform. 
The  King  asked  what  tidings  she  saw,  '  for  I  know  that  many 
things  will  pass  before  thy  eyes  now,  and  I  see  great  luck  on 
thee  ;  and  answer  nie  as  quickly  as  thou  canst,  seid- woman.' 
She  then  threw  open  her  jaws  and  yawned  much,  and  a  song 
came  out  of  her  mouth  : 

Two  are  inside, 
I  trust  neither  of 

The  handsome  ones 
Who  sit  at  the  fires.' 

"  The  King   asked  :  '  Is   it   the  boys,   or  those  who   saved 
them  ?  '     She  answered  : 

'  It  is  those  who  long 
Were  in  Vifilsey 
And  were  called  there 

With  the  names  of  dogs, 
Hopp  and  H6.' 

"  At  this  moment  Signy  threw  a  gold  ring  to  her ;  she 
became  glad  at  this  gift,  and  now  wished  to  change  what  she 
had  told.  She  said  :  '  Why  was  this  so  ?  All  that  I  told  was 
a  lie,  and  now  all  my  telling  is  gone  astray.'  The  King  said  : 
'Thou  shalt  be  tortured  to  tell  it,'  ....  He  shook  the 
seid- woman  hard,  and  asked  her  to  tell  the  truth,  if  she  did  not 
want  to  be  tortured  ;  she  yawned  much,  and  the  seid-telling 
was  difficult.  She  sang  :- 

'  I  see  where  sit 
The  sons  of  Halfdan, 
Hroar  and  Helgi, 

Both  unhurt ; 
They  will  rob 
The  life  of  Frudi 

unless  they  are  killed  soon, which  will  not  take  place  ; '  there- 
upon she  leapt  down  from  the  seid-platform,  and  sang  :— 

'  Keen  are  the  eyes 
Of  Ham  and  Hrani ; 2 

The  high-born  are 
Wonderfully  bold.: 

1  Vatnsdsela,  3,  10;  Thorfin  Karlsefni, 
3 ;  Orvar  Odd,  ch.  2,  3. 

2  Helgi  .and  Hr6ar  had  taken  the  names 
of  Ham  and  Hrani. 


"  Thereafter  the  boys  ran  out  to  the  wood  with  great 
fear ;  their  foster-father  Kegin  recognized  them  and  was  very 
glad.  The  Volva  had  given  them  the  good  advice  to  run 
away  when  she  ran  out  of  the  hall  herself.  The  king  asked 
men  to  rise  and  search  for  them.  Regin  extinguished  all  the 
lights  in  the  hall,  and  each  man  held  the  other  back,  for  some 
wished  them  to  escape,  and  in  this  way  they  got  into  the 
wood  "  (Hrolf  Kraki's  Saga,  c.  3). 

The  Volva  Groa  used  spell-songs  in  order  to  get  a  whet- 
stone out  of  Thor's  head. 

"  The  Volva  Groa,  wife  of  Orvandil  the  skilled,  came  and 
sang  her  spell-songs  over  Thor  until  the  whetstone  got  loose. 
When  Thor  felt  this,  and  had  hope  of  getting  rid  of  the  whet- 
stone, he  wanted  to  reward  Groa  for  the  cure,  and  make  her 
glad ,  he  told  her  the  tidings  that  he  had  waded  southward 
across  Elivagar,  and  carried  Orvandil  in  a  basket  on  his  back 
away  from  Jotunheimar ;  the  proof  of  this  was  that  one  of  his 
toes  had  projected  out  of  the  basket  and  frozen  so  that  Thor 
broke  it  off  and  threw  it  upon  the  heaven,  and  made  of  it  the 
star  called  Orvandil's  toe.  Thor  said  he  would  soon  come 
home.  Groa  became  so  glad  that  she  remembered  no  spell- 
songs,  and  the  whetstone  did  not  get  loose,  and  still  sticks  in 
the  head  of  Thor  "  (Skaldskaparmal,  c.  17). 

The  descent  of  the  Volvas  is  thus  described  :— 

All  Volvas  come  from  All  sorcerers 

Vidolf,  From  Svarthofdi, 

All  wizards  from  All  Jotiiar 

Vilmeid,  From  Ymir. 

The  Sagas  give  an  interesting  insight  into  the  incantations 
and  ceremony  used  by  the  Volvas. 

'•  Ingjald  dwelt  at  Hefni,  north  in  Halogaland.  He  went 
on  warfare  in  the  summer,  remaining  quiet  during  the  winter. 
Friendship  existed  between  Ingjald  and  Thorstein  Ketilsson, 
and  the  former  became  the  fosterer  of  Ingimund  Thorsteinsson. 

"  Once  at  a  feast,  according  to  ancient  custom,  Ingjald 
prepared  incantation  (seid),  that  men  might  know  their  fates. 
There  was  there  a  Finn  woman  skilled  in  witchcraft.  Ingi- 
mund and  Grim  (son  of  Ingjald)  came  to  the  feast  with  a  great 
many  men.  The  Finn  woman  was  placed  high,  and  splendid 
preparations  made  for  her ;  each  of  the  men  went  from  his 
seat  to  inquire  of  her  about  their  fates.  She  told  every  one 


his  fate,  but  they  did  not  all  like  it  quite  as  well.  The  two 
foster-brothers  sat  in  their  seats  and  did  not  go  to  inquire  ; 
they  had  no  mind  for  her  prophesying.  The  Volva  said, 
'  Why  do  these  young  men  not  ask  about  their  fates,  for  they 
seem  to  me  the  most  noteworthy  of  those  present  ?  '  Ingimund 
answered,  '  I  do  not  care  to  know  my  fate  until  it  comes,  and  I 
think  my  life  does  not  depend  on  thy  tongue-roots.'  She 
replied,  '  I  will,  however,  tell  thee  unasked.  Thou  wilt  settle 
in  a  land  called  Iceland ;  it  is  still  to  a  great  extent  unsettled ; 
there  thou  wilt  become  a  man  of  rank  and  grow  old  ;  many  of 
thy  kinsmen  will  also  be  famous  men  in  that  land.'  Ingimund 
said,  '  This  is  well  told,  because  I  have  made  up  my  mind 
never  to  go  to  that  place,  and  I  should  be  a  poor  trader  if  I 
sell  my  many  good  family  lands  and  go  into  deserts.'  The 
Finn  answered :  '  It  will  happen  as  I  tell,  and  it  shall  be  a 
token  that  the  image  has  disappeared  from  thy  purse  which 
King  Harald  gave  thee  in  Hafrstjord,  and  it  now  lies  on  the 
stone  ridge  where  thou  wilt  settle  ;  a  Frey  of  silver  is  marked 
on  it ;  when  thou  bulkiest  thy  farm  my  tale  will  prove  true.' 
Ingimund  said  :  '  If  I  should  not  offend  my  foster-father  by  it, 
I  would  reward  thee  by  knocking  thee  on  the  head ;  but 
because  I  am  not  an  overbearing  or  fretful  man,  I  shall  not  do 
it.'  She  said  he  need  not  be  angry.  Ingimund  said  she 
had  brought  bad  luck  there,  and  she  said  that  it  would  be 
thus,  whether  he  liked  it  or  not.  She  added  :  '  The  fate 
of  Grim  also  points  thither,  as  well  as  that  of  his  brother 
Hromund,  and  both  will  be  great  boandr.'  Next  morning 
Ingimund  searched  for  the  image,  but  did  not  find  it ;  he 
thought  this  a  bad  omen.  Ingjald  told  him  to  be  merry, 
and  not  let  this  affect  him,  or  hinder  his  joy,  saying  that  many 
famous  men  now  thought  it  honourable  to  go  to  Iceland,  and 
that  it  was  only  for  good  that  he  invited  the  Finn.  Ingimund 
said  he  could  not  thank  him  for  this,  but  nevertheless  their 
friendship  would  never  cease  "  (Vatnsdaela  Saga,  c.  10). 

"  At  that  time  there  was  a  very  bad  season  in  Greenland ; 
the  men  who  had  gone  a-fishing  had  a  small  catch,  and  some 
had  not  returned.  There  was  a  woman  in  that  district  (Her- 
jolfsnes),  Thorbjorg,  who  was  a  spdkoua,  and  was  called 
1  the  little  Volva.'  She  had  had  nine  sisters,  all  spdkonas, 
but  she  alone  was  then  living.  It  was  her  custom  in  the 
winter  to  go  to  feasts,  and  those  especially  who  wanted 
to  know  about  their  fate,  or  the  season,  invited  her.  As 
Thorkel  was  the  greatest  bondi  in  Herjolfsnes,  it  was  thought 
he  ought  to  know  when  the  bad  season  would  cease.  He 
invited  the  prophetess,  and  she  was  well  received,  as  war 
customary  with  such  women.  A  high  seat  was  prepared  fos 


her,  and  a  cushion  of  hen's  feathers  placed  upon  it.  That 
evening,  when  she  came  with  the  man  sent  for  her,  she  was 
dressed  in  a  blue  cloak  with  straps,  set  with  stones  down  to 
the  skirts ;  she  wore  glass  beads  on  her  neck,  and  a  hood  of 
black  lambskin  lined  with  white  catskin ;  she  had  a  knobbed 
staff  in  her  hand,  ornamented  with  brass  and  with  stones 
around  the  top  ;  at  her  belt  hung  a  large  skin- bag,  in  which 
she  kept  the  charms  which  she  needed  for  her  foretelling. 
She  wore  hairy  calfskin  shoes  with  long  thongs  with  large 
tin  buttons  on  the  ends ;  she  had  on  her  hands  white  catskin 
gloves  with  the  fur  inside.  When  she  entered  every  one 
thought  it  his  duty  to  greet  her  with  words  of  respect ;  she 
received  this  according  to  her  liking  of  each  of  those  present. 
Thorkel  took  her  hand  and  led  her  to  the  seat  prepared  for 
her,  and  then  begged  of  her  to  let  her  eyes  run  over  the 
people  of  the  household,  and  over  the  herd,  and  over  the 
homestead.  She  spoke  a  little  of  everything.  The  tables  were 
set  in  the  evening ;  the  food  prepared  for  her  was  porridge 
made  with  goat's  milk,  and  the  hearts  of  all  kinds  of  animals 
which  were  there.  She  had  a  spoon  of  brass  and  a  knife  of 
brass  with  a  handle  of  walrus-tusk,  mounted  with  two  rings ; 
its  point  was  broken  off.  After  the  tables  were  taken  away, 
Thorkel  went  to  her  and  asked  how  she  liked  the  looks  of 
things  there  in  the  homestead  and  the  behaviour  of  the  men, 
and  how  soon  she  would  ascertain  what  he  had  asked  her, 
which  all  were  most  anxious  to  know.  She  said  she  could  not 
tell  until  the  next  morning,  after  she  had  slept.  Towards  the 
end  of  the  following  day  such  preparations  were  made  for 
her  as  she  needed  for  performing  the  seid.  She  bade  them 
get  women  who  knew  the  witchcraft  songs  which  were 
used  for  the  seid,  called  varfl-lokkur  (weird  or  fate  songs) ; 
but  such  women  could  not  be  found ;  search  was  made  on  the 
farm  if  any  one  knew  them.  Then  Gudrid  (the  daughter  of 
an  Icelander  by  name  Thorbjorn,  who  had  emigrated  to 
Greenland)  said :  '  1  am  neither  skilled  in  witchcraft  nor  a 
prophetess,  but  nevertheless  Halldis,  my  foster-mother,  taught 
me  a  poem  in  Iceland,  which  she  called  varcl-lolikur? 
'  Then  thou  art  wise  in  good  time,'  replied  Thorkel.  She 
answered,  '  This  is  the  only  custom  at  which  1  will  not  assist, 
for  I  am  a  Christian  woman.'  Thorbjorg  added,  '  It  may  be 
that  thou  wilt  help  people  herewith  and  wouldst  not  be  a 
lesser  woman  than  before  (and  still  wouldst  not  be  lowered 
by  it),  and  of  Thorkel  I  will  ask  the  things  needed.'  Thor- 
kel pressed  Gudrid  hard,  and  she  consented.  The  women 

1  This  song  is  lost. 


placed  themselves  in  a  ring  around  the  seid-lijall  on  which 
Thorbjorg  sat,  and  Gudrid  sang  the  song  so  well  that  all 
present  thought  they  had  never  heard  a  finer  voice.  Tin- 
spdkona  thanked  her,  and  said  that  many  spirits  who  had 
before  wanted  to  depart  and  give  no  help  had  now  come,  and 
found  pleasure  in  listening,  as  the  song  was  so  well  sung ; 
'  and  many  things  which  before  were  hidden  from  me  and 
others  are  now  made  clear.  I  can  tell  thee,  Thorkel,  that  this 
bad  season  will  not  last  longer  than  this  winter,  and  that  it 
will  improve  with  the  spring ;  the  sickness  which  has  been 
here  will  also  be  better  sooner  than  you  expect.  I  will  at 
once  reward  thee  Gudrid  for  thy  help,  for  thy  fate  is  now  very 
clear  to  me ;  thou  wilt  be  married  very  honourably  here  in 
Greenland,  though  thou  wilt  not  enjoy  it  long,  for  thy  ways 
lie  to  Iceland,  where  a  great  and  good  family  will  spring  from 
thee,  and  such  bright  rays  shine  over  thy  offspring  that  I  have 
not  power  to  see  this  clearly  ;  and  now  farewell,  daughter.' 
Then  they  went  to  the  spakona,  and  every  man  asked  what  he 
wished  most  to  know.  She  spoke  willingly,  and  what  she  did 
not  fail  much  to  prove  true.  Then  she  was  called  for  to 
another  farm,  and  went  there.  Thorbjorn  w7as  then  sent,  for 
he  would  not '  stay  at  home  while  such  superstitions  were  per- 
formed. The  weather  soon  improved,  as  Thorbjorg  had  told  " 
(Saga  Thorfin's  Karlsefnis,  c.  3).1 

Cats  seem  to  have  been  special  favourites  with  these  sor- 

"  Thorolf  Sleggja  became  a  very  unruly  man  ;  he  was  a 
thief,  and  in  other  respects  a  very  wicked  man.  People  very 
much  disliked  his  neighbourhood,  and  thought  they  might 
expect  any  evil  from  him.  Though  he  had  not  many  men 
with  him,  he  had  animals  which  he  trusted,  namely,  twenty 
cats  ;  they  were  all  black,  and  exceedingly  large  and  strongly 
bewitched.  People  went  to  Thorstein  (a  chief)  and  told  him 
this  trouble,  as  the  rule  of  the  herad  belonged  to  him ;  they 
said  Thorolf  had  stolen  from  many,  and  done  many  other 
unmanly  deeds.  Thorstein  said  this  was  true,  '  but  it  is  not 
very  easy  to  deal  with  this  man  of  Hel  and  his  cats,  and  I  do 
not  want  to  lose  any  of  my  men  against  them.'  They  answered 
he  could  scarcely  keep  his  honour  if  he  did  nothing.  Then 
Thorstein  gathered  men.  as  he  wanted  to  have  many  with 
him.  His  brothers  and  his  Norwegian  guest  were  with  him.  They 
went  to  Sleggjustadir.  Thorolf  did  not  trouble  himself  about 
this  ;  he  could  never  have  good  men  with  him.  He  went  in  when 

Cf.  also  Norna  Gest's  Thatt.  c.  3. 


he  saw  them  coming  on  horseback,  and  said :  '  Now  the  guests 
must  be  welcomed,  and  I  intend  my  cats  to  do  it,  and  I  will 
place  all  of  them  in  the  entrance,  and  it  will  take  them  long 
before  they  get  in  if  they  defend  the  door.'     Then  he  made 
them  very  strong  with   spells,  and  they   looked  very  fierce, 
mewing  and  rolling  their  eyes.     Jokul  (Thorstein's  brother) 
said  to  Thorstein  :  '  It  was  good  advice  of  thine  not  to  let  this 
human  fiend  be  undisturbed  any  longer.'     They  were  eighteen 
men.    Thorolf  said  to  himself :  '  Now  fire  shall  be  made,  and  I 
do  not  care  though  smoke  follows  it,  for  the  coming  of  the  Vatns- 
dal  men  is  not  likely  to  be  peaceful.     He  put  a  kettle  over  the 
fire,  and  laid  under  it  wool  and  all  kirids  of  rubbish,  and  the  house 
became  full  of  smoke.     Thorstein  came  to  the  door  and  said  : 
'  We  ask  thee  to  go  out,  Thorolf.'    He  answered  that  their  errand 
could  not  be  peaceful.     Then  the  cats  at  once  began  to  whine 
and  act  hideously.    Thovstein  said  : '  This  is  a  wicked  company.' 
Jokul  answered :  '  Let  us  go  in  at  them,  and  not  care  for  these 
cats.'    Thorstein  said  they  should  not,  'for  it  is  most  likely 
that   our   men  will  be  hurt    by  all    the    cats  and    Thorolf's 
weapons,   for    he    is    a    great    champion;    I    should    prefer 
that  he  gave  himself  up  and  walked  out,  for  he  has  so  much 
smoke  from  the  fuel  that  he  cannot  well  stay  in.'     Thorolf 
took  the  kettle  off   the    fire  and   threw  it  on  the   wool-pile, 
and  so  strong  a  smell  came  out  that  Thorstein  and  his  men 
could  not  stand  very  near  the  door.     Thorstein  said  :  '  Beware 
of  the  cats  that  they  do  not  clutch  you,  and  let  us  throw  the 
fire  into  the  houses.'    Jokul  took  a  large  firebrand  and  threw 
it,  into  the  entrance,  so  that  the  cats  drew  back  and  the  door 
fell  back.      The    wind   blew  on  the   houses    and   the    flames 
were  fanned  up.     Thorstein  said  :  '  Let  us  stand  at  the  fence 
where  the  smoke  is  thickest   and  see  what  he  does,  for  he  has 
so  much  fuel  that  he  cannot  stay  long.'     Thorstein  guessed 
right.     Thorolf  jumped  out  with  two  chests  full  of  silver,  and 
went  with  the  smoke  ;  when  he  came  out  the   Norwegian  was 
there,  and  said,  '  Here  is  the  fiend  running,  and  he  looks  wicked 
now.'     He  ran  after  Thorolf  down  to  Vatnsdal  river,  until  they 
came  to  some  deep  pits  or  fens.     There  Thorolf  turned  round 
towards  him,  took  hold  of  him,  laid  him  under  his  arm,  and  said  : 
'  Thou  triest  to  run  now  ;  let  us  then  both  run.'    He  jumped  into 
the  bog  and  they  sank,  and  neither  came  up  again.    Thorstein 
said  :  ;A  great  mishap  was  this  that  my  Norwegian  should  perish, 
but  it  is  well  that  Thorolf's  property  will  be  enough  to  pay  his 
wergild.'     And  so  it  was.     The  abode  of  Thorolf  was  after  this 
called  Sleggjustadir,  and  cats  were  often  seen  there,  and  it  was 
often  thought  evil  to  be  there  "(Vatnsdrela,  c.  28). 

Men  and  women  with  the  power  of  foreseeing  and  foretelling 

SORCERY.  401 

were  thought  to  be  born  with  the  same  gifts  as  the  Volva ; l  by 
foretelling  evil  they  had  a  great  hold  on  the  people,  and 
received  good  rewards  for  their  knowledge.2 

"  A  woman,  by  name  Oddbjorg,  went  about  the  herad.  She 
was  merry,  wise  and  foreknowing.  She  made  it  a  great  point  that 
the  housewives  should  receive  her  well,  and  she  told  favourable 
things  according  to  her  entertainment.  She  came  to  Upsalir. 
Saldis  received  her  well,  and  asked  her  to  foretell  something 
good  about  her  boys.  She  said  :  '  These  boys  look  promising 
if  they  have  luck,  which  I  do  not  see.'  Saldis  said  :  '  I  think 
thou  wilt  not  find  the  entertainment  very  good  for  this 
taunt.'  She  answered  :  '  Thy  entertainment  will  not  depend 
on  this,  and  thou  needest  not  be  so'  sensitive  as  to  words.' 
Saldis  said  :  '  Little  shalt  thou  say  of  it  if  thy  mind  does  not 
think  it  good.'  She  answered  :  '  I  have  not  as  yet  said  too  much, 
but  I  do  not  think  their  love  to  each  other  will  last  long.' 
Saldis  replied,  'I  thought  I  deserved  other  words  for  the  sake 
of  good  entertainment,  and  thou  wilt  be  driven  away  if  thou 
tellest  evil  foretel lings.'  Oddbjorg  said  :  'I  think  I  need  not 
spare  thee  as  thou  sayest  this  without  reason ;  I  will  not  visit 
thee  again,  and  thou  mayest  bear  this  as  well  as  thou  wilt,  but 
I  can  tell  thee  that  they  will  carry  spears  of  death  against  each 
other,  and  one  thing  after  another,  worse  and  worse,  will  be 
caused  by  this  in  the  herad '  "  (Viga  Glum,  c.  12). 

"  When  Hakon,  Pal's  son,  was  in  Sweden,  he  heard  of  a  man 
who  practised  sorcery  and  foretelling,  whether  he  used  for  it 
witchcraft  or  other  things.  He  became  very  curious  to  see  this 
man,  and  know  what  he  could  tell  about  his  fate.  He  went  to 
him,  and  at  last  found  him  in  a  district  near  the  sea  where  he 
received  feasts  and  foretold  seasons  and  other  things  to  the 
bondi.  When  he  met  him  he  asked  how  he  would  succeed 
in  getting  the  realm  or  other  luck.  The  wizard  asked 
who  he  was,  and  he  told  his  name  and  kin,  that  he  was 
a  son  of  the  daughter  of  Hakon,  Ivar's  son.  The  wizard 
said  :  '  Why  shouldst  thou  ask  witchcraft  or  foretelling  from 
me  ?  Thou  knowest  that  thy  kinsmen  little  liked  men  of  my 
kind.  It  may  be  needful  for  thee  to  ask  thy  kinsman,  Olaf  the 
Stout,  in  whom  thou  trustest  fully,  about  thy  fate,  but  1  guess 
that  he  will  not  condescend  to  tell  thee  what  thou  art  anxious 
to  know,  or  is  not  so  powerful  as  thou  thinkest  him.'  Hakon 
answered  :  '  I  will  not  blame  him,  for  I  think  it  is  rather 
my  unworthiness  to  learn  wisdom  from  him  than  his  in- 

1  Lardsela,  33;  Njala,  127.  .2  Orkneyinga,  100,  102;  Ljosvetninga, 

21 ;  Vatnsdsela,  12;  Orvar  Odd,  2. 

VOL.  I.  2    D 


capability  to  teach  it  to  me.  I  have  come  to  thee  because  I 
think  that  neither  of  us  need  envy  the  other  as  to  virtue  or 
religion.'  The  man  answered :  '  I  am  pleased  that  thou 
trustest  fully  in  me,  and  more  than  in  the  belief  of  thyself  and 
thy  kinsmen.  It  is  strange  with  those  who  have  this  belief, 
they  fast  and  have  vigils,  and  think  thus  to  be  able  to  know 
the  things  they  desire,  and  though  they  do  such  things  they 
know  less  of  the  things  they  wish  to  know  the  more  important 
they  are.  We  undergo  no  afflictions,  and  yet  always  know  the 
things  our  friends  think  important.  Now  it  will  be  so  that  I 
will  keep  thee,  because  I  see  thou  thinkest  thou  canst  rather 
get  truth  from  me  than  from  the  preachers  of  King  Ingi 
whom  he  trusts  fully.  Thou  shalt  come  after  three  nights, 
and  then  we  shall  see  whether  I  am  able  to  tell  thee  any  of  the 
things  thou  wishest  to  know.'  They  parted,  and  Hakon  passed 
three  nights  in  the  district,  and  then  went  to  the  wizard.  He 
was  alone  in  a  house  and  sighed  heavily  when  Hakon  entered, 
stroked  his  forehead  with  his  hand,  and  said  it  had  taken  him 
much  trouble  to  know  the  things  he  wished  to  hear  of;  Hakon 
said  he  wanted  to  hear  his  fate.  The  wizard  began  :  '  If  thou 
wishest  to  know  thy  fate  it  is  long  to  tell,  for  it  is  great,  and 
many  great  tidings  will  spring  from  thy  life  and  doings— I 
see  in  my  mind  that  thou  wilt  at  last  become  sole  chief  over 
the  Orkneys,  but  it  may  be  thou  thinkest  the  waiting  time 
long.  I  also  think  that  thy  offspring  will  rule  there,  and  thy 
next  journey  westward  to  the  Orkneys  will  lead  to  great  events 
when  that  which  springs  from  it  appears.  Thou  wilt  also  in 
thy  days  commit  a  crime  which  thou  mayest  redress  or  not  to 
the  god  in  whom  thou  believest.  Thy  steps  go  further  out  into 
the  world  than  I  can  trace,  though  I  think  thou  wilt  rest  thy 
bones  in  its  northern  half.  Now  I  have  told  thee  what  I  can 
tell  thee  this  time,  and  thou  mayest  be  satisfied  or  not  with  it.' 
Hakon  answered :  '  Much  tellest  thou  if  it  is  true,  but  I  think 
it  will  turn  out  better  than  thou  sayest,  and  maybe  thou  hast 
not  seen  the  truth.'  The  wizard  said  he  might  believe  what 
he  liked,  but  that  this  would  take  place  "  (Orkneyinga,  c.  xxvi. 
p.  100). 

The  crime  was  the  slaying  of  St.  Magnus ;  and  the  steps  out 
in  the  world,  Kognvald's  journey  to  the  Holy  Land. 



iEgir  the  god  of  the  sea — His  wife  Kan — The  origin  of  wind  and  fire — 
Figurative  names  of  the  sea,  the  wind,  ice,  rocks,  clouds,  hail,  and  rain — 
Ean's  net — The  nine  daughters  of  ^Egir  and  Kan — Superstitions  connected 
with  Ran. 

seems  to  have  been  one  of  the  earlier  gods  worshipped 
in  the  North  as  the  god  of  the  sea.  His  worship  must  have 
been  deeply  implanted  in  the  hearts  of  the  people,  and  he  was 
worshipped  to  the  end  of  the  pagan  era.  He  was  believed  to 
govern  the  wind  and  the  sea,  and  with  his  wife  Ran  to  receive 
all  shipwrecked  people.  He  is  fabled  to  have  lived  in  the 
island  of  Lsesso,  was  the  son  of  the  Jotun  Fornjot,  who  ruled 
over  Jotland,  and  had  two  brothers,  Wind  and  Fire. 

" '  How  is  the  wind  called  ? '  '  The  son  of  Fornjot,  the 
brother  of  /Egir  and  of  the  Fire.'  *  How  is  the  fire  called  ?  ' 
'The  brother  of  the  wind  and  of  JUgir'  (Skaldskaparmal, 
cc.  27,  28). 

"  Then  Gangleri  said,  '  Whence  comes  the  wind  ?  He  is  so 
strong  that  he  moves  large  oceans  and  stirs  up  the  fire,  but 
however  strong  he  is  he  cannot  be  seen,  so  he  must  be 
strangely  shaped.'  Har  answered,  '  I  can  tell  thee  easily. 
On  the  northern  end  of  heaven  there  sits  a  jotun  called 
Hrcesvelg  in  an  eagle's  shape  ;  when  he  flaps  his  wings  the 
winds  rise  from  under  them  '  '  (Gylfaginning,  c.  18). 

The  Sagas  teem  with  poetical  and  allegoric  expressions  about 
the  sea,  the  wind,  fire,  ships,  &c.,  &c.  The  sea  is  oalled- 

Ymir's  blood.  The  land  of  JSgir's  daughters. 

Kan's  husband.  The  land  of  the  ships. 

Hjorvardsson,  18;   Helgi   Hundingsbani, 
i.  3  ;  Egil's  Saga,  &c. 

1  The  name  of  ./Egir  is  found  in 
Hundingsbani   i.,   st.   30:   in  Lokaseinia  ; 

in    Hymiskvida;    that  of   Ran,  in  Helgi 

2  T>  2 




The  sea  king's  road. 

The  house  of  the  sands. 

The  land  of  the  fishing  tackle. 

The  land  of  the  sea  birds. 

The  land  of  the  fishes. 

The  land  of  the  keel. 

The  land  of  the  ship's  beaks. 

The  necklace  of  the  earth. 

The  belt  of  the  earth. 

The  father  of  the  billow. 

The  father  of  the  nine  daughters 

of  Mgir. 

The  glittering  home. 
The  clashing  chain  of  the  rock. 
The  hidden  path. 

It  is  also  called  the  land  of  different  sea  kings. 
In  Virgil  the    sea  is   called  Arva   Neptuni,  the   fields  of 
Neptune.     In  the  North  it  is  called  the  land  of  ^Egir,  or  Kan. 
The  sky  which  hangs  over  land  and  water  was  called — 

The  hall  of  the  mountains. 
The  wind  weaver. 
The  dripping  hall. 
The  sea  of  mist. 
The  upper  world,  &c. 

The  tub  of  the  wind. 
The  helmet  of  the  wind. 
The  wash-basin  of  the  winds. 
The  highway  of  the  moon. 
The  tent  of  the  sun. 

The  hall  of  the  moon. 
The  wind  and  storms  are  called  — 

The  brother  of  fire. 
The  wolf  of  the  earth. 
The  wolf  of  the  sail. 
The  bane  of  the  ships. 
The  bane  of  the  woods. 
The  stone-mad  =  very  mad. 
The  coldly  dressed. 
The  crasher,  clasher. 

The  soother,  comforter. 
The  squall  maker. 
The  whistler,  howler. 
The  breaker  of  the  tree. 
The  dog  of  the  sail. 
The  breaker  of  the  rigging. 
The  shower  driver. 
The  one  madly  rushing. 
The  never  silent,  &c. 

The  ice  against  which  ships  had  to  contend  was  called — 

The  heaven  of  the  deep.  The  elk's  gallows. 

The  roof  of  the  salmon  hall  (the  sea). 

The  rocks  were  called — 

The  bones  of  the  sea. 

The  anchor  was  called— 

The  one  with  the  cold  nose. 

The  bones  of  the  earth. 

The  clouds  are  called— 

The  harbinger  of  the  shower. 
The  wind  floating. 

The  strength  of  the  storm. 
The  hiding  helmet,  &c. 

The  hail— 
The  rain — 

The  stones  of  the  clouds. 
The  tears  of  the  clouds. 


The  Asar  wanted  to  get  a  kettle  large  enough  for  them  all, 
and  sent  Thor  to  the  jotun  Hymir  to  get  it  from  him.  Thor 
went,  and  we  have  from  the  Later  Edda  the  story  about  his 
fishing  for  the  serpent  with  Hymir.  He  came  back  with  the 
kettle  after  having  slain  many  Jotnar. 

ir,  who  is  also  called  G-ymir,  had  made  ale  for  the 
Asar  when  he  had  got  the  large  cauldron  which  has  been 
told  of.  To  that  feast  came  Odin  and  his  wife  Frigg.  Thor 
did  not  come,  for  he  was  in  Austrveg  (eastern  lands).  8if, 
Thor's  wife,  Bragi  and  his  wife  Idun  were  there.  Tyr  was 
there  ;  he  had  only  one  hand.  The  Fenris-wolf  tore  off  his 
hand  when  he  was  tied.  Njord  and  his  wife  Skadi,  Frey 
and  Freyja,  Vidar,  Odin's  son,  Loki,  Beyggvir  and  Beyla, 
the  servants  of  Frey,  were  there.  Many  Asar  and  Alfar 
were  there.  ^3Egir  had  two  servants,  Fimafeng  and  Eldir; 
shining  gold  was  used  instead  of  lights  there  ;  the  ale 
carried  itself  ;  there  was  a  great  peace-place  (grida  stad)  '' 

"  A  man  is  called  ^Egir,  or  Hler  ;  he  lived  on  the  island 
now  called  Hlesey  (Lsesso  on  the  Kattegat)  ;  he  was  very  skilled 
in  witchcraft.  He  went  on  a  journey  to  Asgard  ;  when  the  Asar 
knew  this  he  was  well  received,  but  with  many  ocular  de- 
lusions. In  the  evening,  when  they  were  going  to  drink,  Odin 
had  swords  carried  into  the  hall  ;  they  were  so  bright  that 
they  shone,  and  no  other  light  was  used  while  they  sat 
drinking.  Then  the  Asar  went  to  their  feast,  and  the  twelve 
Asar  who  were  to  be  judges  sat  down  in  high-seats.  Their 
names  are  :  Thor,  Njord,  Frey,  Tyr,  Heimdall,  Bragi,  Vidar, 
Vali,  Ull,  Hoanir,  Forseti,  Loki.  Also  the  Asynjur  :  Frigg, 
Freyja,  Gefjon,  Idun,  Gerd,  Sigun,  Fulla,  Nanna.  ^Egir 
thought  that  all  looked  splendid  there.  The  walls  were  all 
covered  over  with  fine  shields,  the  mead  was  strong,  and  much 
of  it  was  drunk  "  (Bragarcedur). 

"  Why  is  gold  called  the  fire  of  ^Egir  ?  The  following  tale 
is  told  of  it.  -SCgir,  as  has  been  told,  had  been  invited 
to  a  feast  in  Asgard,  and  when  he  was  ready  to  go  home  he 
invited  Odin  and  all  the  Asar  to  visit  him  in  three  months. 
On  that  journey  went  Odin,  Njord,  Frey,  Tyr,  Bragi,  Vidar, 
Loki,  and  the  Asynjur  Frigg,  Freyja,  Gefjon,  Skadi,  Idun,  Sif. 
Thor  was  not  there  ;  he  had  gone  to  the  eastern  lands  to  slay 
Troll.  When  the  gods  had  seated  themselves,  .ZEgir  had 
lysigull  (light  gold,  bright  gold)  brought  in  on  the  floor  of 
the  hall,  which  lighted  up  and  brightened  the  hall  like  fire,  as 


the  swords  do  in  Valhalla.  Loki  quarrelled  with  all  the  gods 
and  killed  Fimafeng,  .ZEgir's  thrall ;  another  of  his  thralls  was 
called  Eldir. 

Early  the  gods  of  the  slain  (the  Asar)         Shook  the  twigs 
Took  their  food,  And  looked  on  the  blood, 

And  at  the  feast  They  found  there  was 

Ere  they  were  satisfied  Enough  at  ^Egir's. 

(Hymis  Kvida,  1.) 

Ran,  who  was  the  wife  of  JEgir,  and  like  him  also  wor- 
shipped, was  supposed  to  have  a  net  in  which  she  caught  all 
those  who  were  lost  at  sea,  and  the  people  seem  to  have  been 
superstitious  as  to  the  manner  in  which  shipwrecked  persons 
were  received  by  her. 

"  Jilgir's  wife  is  called  Kan,  and  their  nine  daughters  have 
been  named  before.  At  that  feast  everything  came  by  itself, 
food  and  drink  and  all  that  was  necessary  for  the  feast.  The 
Asar  became  aware  that  Ran  owned  a  net  in  which  she  caught 
all  men  that  came  out  on  the  sea.  Now  this  saying  relates 
why  the  gold  is  called  the  fire,1  or  the  light  or  the  brightness 
of  "^Egir,  or  Ran,  or  ^Egir's  daughters"  (Skaldskaparmal, 
c.  33). 

The  nine  daughters  of  ^Egirand  Ran  had  names  emblematic 
of  the  sea  and  its  waves. 

In  the  Later  Edda  (Skaldskaparmal),  c.  25,  we  read- 

"  How  is  the  sea  to  be  called  ?  Ymir's  blood,  the  visitor  of 
the  gods,  the  husband  of  Ran,  the  father  of  ^gir's  daughters, 
who  have  the  following  names  :— 

"  Himinglcefa—ihe  heaven  glittering  (implying  the  glitter- 
ing of  the  sun  and  moon  on  the  waves). 

"Dufa— the  dove  (symbolising  the  stillness  of  a  quiet  sea, 
heaving  up  and  down  gently. 

"  Sloduf/hadda— the  bloody-haired  (so  named  from  the 
sunset  or  blood  giving  colour  to  the  waves). 

"He/ring — the  hurling,  heaving — may  mean  the  over- 
drifting,  moving  heavily  along  by  a  gale. 

"  Unn  (Ud) — the  loving  or  beloved  one. 

"  Hronn — the  towering  one. 


In  poetry  gold  is  often  called 

fire,  or  Ran's  light,  showing  that  belief 

in  the  old  myth  still  existed. 



"  Bijlgja — the  billowing,  swelling  one. 

"  Bar  a — the  one  carrying,  lashing  against  the  rocks. 

"  Kulga. — the  cooling  one." 

"  Thorod  had  been  lost  with  his  men  at  sea,  and  the  wreck 
was  thrown  up  on  the  shore,  but  no  bodies.  His  wife  and  son 
invited  the  neighbours  to  the  arvel.1  The  first  evening:  of  the 

CJ  .  ^5 

arvel,  when  the  men  had  sat  down  in  their  seats,  Thorod  and 
his  companions  walked  into  the  hall,  all  wet.  They  were  well 
received,  for  this  was  thought  a  good  omen;  men  in  those 
days  believed  that  drowned  men  had  been  well  received  by 
Ran,  if  they  visited  their  own  arvel,  for  there  still  remained 
some  of  the  old  beliefs,  although  men  had  been  baptized,  and 
were  named  Christians  "  (Eyrbyggja  Saga,  c.  54). 

In  Hervarar  Saga,  Gest  asks  King  Heidrek,  "  Who  are  those 
widows  who,  according  to  the  habits  of  their  fathers,  live 
together,  and  who  seldom  are  partial  to  men,  &c.  ?"  The 
latter  replies  :  "  They  are  ^Egir's  daughters  (the  waves)  ;  they 
always  go  three  together,  and  the  winds  awaken  them." 

Egil's  son  Bodvar  having  been  drowned,  the  old  father  in 
his  grief  over  his  loss  composed  a  poem  about  him.  Vol.  ii., 
p.  416. 

Very  roughly  has  Ran 
Handled  me, 
I  am  very  much  bereft 
Of  beloved  friends. 
The  sea  tore  asunder 
The  ties  of  my  kin, 
A  striag  twisted 2 
By  myself. 

Knowest  thou  that 

If  I  avenged  this3  with  the  sword 

Then  the  ale-smith* 

Would  be  luckless.8 

If  I  could  slay 

The  brother  of  the  upheaver  of  waves" 

I  would  go  and  fight 

Against  the  wile  of  M^ir. 

But  I  did  not 
Think  I  had 

Strength  to  fight  a  battle 
Against  the  plank-bane,7 
For  the  helplessness 
Of  an  old  man 
Is  before  the  eyes 
Of  all  people. 

Ran  has  me 

Robbed  of  much  ; 

It  is  bitter  to  tell 

Of  a  kinsman's  death 

Since  my  family-shield8 

Parted  from  life 

To  the  joy-ways.9 

(Egil's  Saga,  c.  81.) 

1  Inheritance  feast ;  see  Vol.  ii.,  p.  47. 

2  He  rails  his  son  Bodvar  a  string  of 
his  family,  made  or  twisted  by  himself. 

3  The  son's  death. 

4  vEgir,  who  brewed  ale  for  the  Asar. 

5  This  passage  means — "  If  I  could  get 
my  son  avenged,  jEgir  would  tare  badly." 

6  The  upheaver  of  the  waves  was  the 
wind  =  Kari ;  his  brother  was  ^Egir. 

7  Plank-bane  —  ship  -  destroyer  ;     i.e., 

8  Egil  being  old,  Bodvar  is   called  the 
family  shield  or  protector. 

9  Dwellings  of  joy  (Valhalla). 


Fridthjof,  for  having  violated  the  peace  of  Baldr's  temple, 
was  condemned  by  the  Kings,  Helgi  and  Halfdan,  to  proceed 
to  the  Orkneys  to  collect  the  tribute  from  Angantyr  the  Jarl. 

"  Then  came  a  wave  dashing  so  strongly  that  it  carried  away 
the  gunwales  and  part  of  the  bows,  and  flung  four  men  over- 
board, who  were  all  lost. 

"  'Now  it  is  likely,'  said  Fridthjof,  'that  some  of  our  men 
will  visit  Ean.  We  will  not  be  thought  fit  to  corne  there 
unless  we  prepare  ourselves  well.  I  think  it  right  that  every 
man  should  carry  some  gold  with  him.'  He  cut  asunder  the 
ring  of  Ingibjorg  and  divided  it  among  his  men,  and  sang— 

We  will  cut  the  red  ring  Gold  shall  be  seen  on  the  guests 

Which  the  rich  father  In  the  middle  of  the  hall  of  Ean, 

Of  Halfdan  owned.  If  we  need  night  quarters  there, 

Before  JEgir  slays  us.  That  befits  open-handed  warriors. 

(Fridthjofs  Saga,  ch.  vi.) 



Sacrifices  to  the  Alfar — Early  worship  of  the  Alfar — Spirits  of  the  Alfar — 
Sacrifices  to  the  Disir — Ceremonies  attending  the  sacrifices — The  Fylgja 
and  Hamingja  or  following  and  family  spirits — They  take  various  shapes — 
They  appear  in  dreams — Guardian  spirits  of  the  land. 

THE  people  made  sacrifices  to  the  Alfar  (Alfa-Uot)  mentioned 
in  the  earlier  Edda,  as  well  as  to  the  Asar  and  Disir,  who  we 
have  seen  were  closely  related  to  the  former.1  These  sacrifices, 
of  which  there  are  few  accounts,  and  which  seem  to  have  been 
made  in  houses,  are  perhaps  traces  of  a  religion  previous  to 
that  of  Odin  of  the  North. 

King  Olaf  Haraldsson  sent  as  messengers  to  Olaf,  King  of 
Sweden,  Bjorn,  his  marshal,  and  the  Icelandic  scald  Sigvat, 
After  leaving  Norway  they  went  across  the  Eidaforest. 

"  Then  they  went  through  Gautland,  and  one  evening  came 
to  a  farm  called  Hof.  The  door  was  shut  and  they  could  not 
enter  ;  the  husband  and  wife  said  it  was  holy  there,  and  they 
went  away.  Then  they  came  to  another  farm  ;  the  housewife 
stood  at  the  door  and  asked  them  not  to  go  in,  saying  they 
were  holding  Alfa-bUt.  Sigvat  sang  :— 

Do  not  go  farther  in,  I  fear  the  wrath  of  Odin, 

Wretched  man  ;  We  are  heathens. 

(St.  Olaf's  Saga,  c.  92.) 

We  have  seen  that  the  Alfar,  from  whom  some  people 
claimed  their  descent,  as  others  did  from  the  Asar,  were  of 
two  kinds,  and  dwelt  at  Alfheim,  not  far  from  the  Urd  well  by 
the  ash  Yggdrasil.  They  made  the  fetter  Gleipnir,  with  which 

1  Alfheim  was  given  to  Frey  as  a  tooth-fee. 



the  Fenris-wolf  was  kept  tied  ;  also  the  ship  Skidbladnir,  Odin's 
spear  Gungnir,  and  Sif  s  golden  hair,  &o. 

"  Why  is  gold  called  the  hair  of  Sif?  '  Loki,  son  of  Lanfey, 
had,  through  cunning,  cut  off  all  the  hair  of  Sif  (wife. of  Thor). 
When  Thor  knew  it  he  took  Loki  and  would  have  crushed 
every  bone  in  him  if  he  had  not  sworn  to  get  the  Svartalfar 
(black  Alfar)  to  make  hair  of  gold  for  Sif  which  would  grow 
like  other  hair.  Thereafter  Loki  went  to  the  Dvergar,  called 
the  sons  of  Ivaldi,1  and  they  made  the  hair  and  Skidbladnir 
and  the  spear  of  Odin,  Gungnir.  Then  Loki  staked  his  head 
to  the  Dverg  Brok  that  his  brother  Sindri  would  not  be  able 
to  make  three  things  as  good  as  these.  When  they  came  to 
the  smithy,  Sindri  laid  the  skin  of  a  swine  on  the  hearth  and 
asked  Brok  to  blow  (the  bellows),  and  not  to  stop  before  he 
had  taken  from  the  hearth  what  he  had  put  on  it.  When  he 
had  left  the  forge  and  Brok  had  made  the  bellows  blow,  a  fly  2 
sat  down  on  his  hand  and  pecked  at  it ;  he  continued  until 
the  smith  took  from  the  hearth  a  boar  with  golden  bristles. 
Then  Sindri  put  gold  on  the  hearth  and  asked  him  to  blow 
and  not  to  stop  till  he  came  back.  He  went,  and  the  fly  came 
and  sat  down  on  his  neck  and  pecked  twice  as  hard,  but  he 
blew  until  the  smith  took  from  the  hearth  a  gold  ring  called 
Draupnir.  Then  Sindri  laid  iron  on  the  hearth  and  asked 
him  to  blow,  as  this  would  be  of  no  use  if  he  stopped  it.  Then 
the  fly  settled  down  between  his  eyes  and  pecked  at  his 
eyelids.  When  the  blood  ran  down  into  his  eyes  so  that  he 
saw  nothing  he  swept  away  the  fly  as  quickly  as  he  could,  and 
the  bellows  fell  down  ;  then  the  smith  came  and  said  that  now 
all  that  was  on  the  hearth  had  been  made  nearly  useless.  He 
took  a  hammer  from  it  and  gave  all  these  (three)  things  to  his 
brother  Brok,  and  asked  him  to  take  them  to  Asgard  for  the 
wager.  .  .  .  Loki  gave  to  Odin  the  spear  Gungnir,  to  Thor 
the  hair  for  Sif,  to  Frey  Skidbladnir.  .  .  .  Then  Brok  gave 
the  ring  (Draupnir)  to  Odin,  and  said  that  every  ninth  night 
eight  rings  equally  heavy  would  drop  from  it ;  he  gave  the 
boar  to  Frey,  and  said  it  could  run  over  sea  and  air  by  night 
and  day  faster  than  any  horse,  and  that  the  night  or  mijrk- 
heimar  (the  black  world)  would  never  get  so  dark  but  there 
would  be  enough  light  from  the  shining  of  its  mane.  He 
gave  the  hammer  to  Thor,  and  said  that  whatever  he  met, 
however  large  the  object  was,  he  might  strike  it  with  the 
hammer  and  it  would  never  fail ;  if  he  threw  it  at  anything  it 

1  Here    we    see    that    Svartalfar    are 

2  From  this  it  is  supposed  that   Loki 

had  come  in  the  shape  of  a  fly  to  make 
them  lose  the  wager. 



would  never  miss,  and  never  go  so  far  as  not  to  come  back 
into  bis  hand  '  '  (Skaldskaparmal,  35). 

"Ragnar  (the  son  of  Sigurd  Hring)  grew  up  in  his  father's 
bird ;  he  was  taller  and  handsomer  than  any  man  people  bad 
seen,  and  like  bis  mother  and  her  kin  to  look  at,  for  it  is 
known  from  all  old  sayings  about  the  people  that  are  called 
Altar  that  they  were  much  finer  than  other  kinds  of  men  in 
the  northern  lands.  The  parents  of  his  mother  Alfhild  and 
all  her  kin  sprung  from  Alt'  the  old  "  (Sogubrot,  c.  10). 

"The  land  which  King  Alf  ruled  was  called  Alfheim,  and 
all  the  people  that  spring  from  him  are  of  the  Alfa-kin ;  next 
after  the  Risar  they  were  finer  than  other  people.  King  Alf 
was  married  to  Bryngerd,  daughter  of  King  Ramn,  in  Rauina- 
riki ;  she  was  tall  but  not  handsome,  for  Rauni  was  ugly  ;  1  the 
men  who  are  tall  and  ugly  are  called  raumar  "  (Thorstein's 
Saga  Vikingssonar,  c.  1). 

The  people  thought  that  the  spirits  of  the  Alfar  sometimes 
lived  not  far  from  human  habitation's. 

Kormak  and  Thorvard  had  fought,  and  the  latter  had  been 
wounded ;  be  recovered  slowly,  and  as  soon  as  be  could  get  on 
bis  feet  went  to  find  Thordis  (a  Volva),  and  inquired  how  be 
coulcLbest  recover  bis  health.  He  replied  :— 

"  A  short  distance  from  here  there  is  a  bill,  in  which  Alfar 
live.  Thou  must  get  the  bull,  which  Kormak  killed,  and  with 
its  blood  redden  the  outside  of  the  hill,  and  make  a  feast  for 
the  Alfar  of  the  meat,  and  thou  wilt  recover  "  (Kormak's  Saga, 
c.  22). 

Pisa-blot. — The  sacrifices  offered  to  the  Disir,  or  genii  who 
specially  guarded  men  and  families  and  appeared  when  im- 
portant events  happened,2  seem  to  have  been  performed  by 
women  only,  and  to  have  been  usually  made  in  the  autumn  or 
winter  nights ;  sometimes  human  sacrifices  were  made  to  them. 

This  worship  from  its  very  nature  was  probably  of  great 
antiquity,  and  belonged  to  the  religion  practised  by  the 

The  earliest  account  of  a  Disa-blot  is  in  Hervarar  Saga. 

^  "  A  man  named  Arngrim  was  a  Risi  and  mountain  dweller, 

1  Other  texts — Raum  and  his  kinsmen 
were  tall  and  ugly. 

2  Cf.   Gisli  Sursson,    22,   24,   30,   33; 

Half's  Saga,  15;  Grimnismal,  53 ;  Atlamal, 
2o.  Fylgjas  appeared  to  people  in  dreams  : 
Lj6svetninga,  21 ;  Atlamal,  19  ;  Xjal,  12. 



who  took  Ama  Ymi's  daughter  from  Ymisland,  and  married 
her;  their  son  was  Hergrim,  called  half-Troll.     He  was  some- 
times with    the   mountain  Risar,  and  sometimes  with  men ; 
he  had  the  strength  of  a  Jo  tun  ;  was  much  skilled  in  witch- 
craft and  a  great  Berserk  ; x  he  carried  off  Ogn  Alfasprengi 
from  Jotun heim   and  married    her ;    they  had   a   son    called 
Grim.    Starkad  then  lived  at  Olfossar  ;  he  was  by  kin  a  Thurs, 
and  like  them  in  strength  and  nature ;  his  father  was  Storkvid. 
Ogn  Alfasprengi  was  betrothed  to  Starkad,  but  Hergrim  took 
her  from  him  while  he  was  travelling  north  over  Elivagar ; 
when  he  came  back  he  asked  him  to  give  him  back  his  wife, 
and  at  the  same  time  challenged  him  to  '  holmganga.'2     They 
fought   at   the   uppermost   waterfall   at   Eydi.     Starkad    had 
eight  hands,  and  fought  with  four  swords  at  once.     He  won  the 
victory,  and  Hergrim  fell.     Ogn  was  looking  on,  and  when 
Hergrim  had  fallen  she  stabbed  herself  and  would  not  marry 
Starkad.     Starkad  took  all  the  property  of  Hergrim  with  him, 
and  also  his  son  Grim,  who  grew  up  with  him,  and  was  both 
tall  and  strong.     King  Alf,  who  ruled  in  Alfheimar,  had  a 
daughter  Alfhild.     At  that  time  the  land  between  Gautelf  and 
Eaumelf  was  called  Alfheimar.     One  autumn  there  was  a  great 
disablot  (sacrifice  to  the  Disir) 3  at  King  Alf  s,  and  Alfhild  went 
to  it ;  she  was  more  beautiful  than  any  other  woman,  and  all  the 
people  in  Alfheimar  were  handsomer  than  other  people  at  that 
time  ;  but  in  the  night,  as  she  was  reddening  the  librg  with 
blood,  Starkad  Aludreng  took  her  away  to  his  home.     Then 
King  Alf  invoked  Thor  to  seek  for  Alfhild,  and  Thor  killed 
Starkad,  and  made  Alfhild  go  home  to  her  lather,  and  Grim 
the  son  of  Hergrim  with  her.     When  Grim  was  twelve  winters 
old    he  went   into  warfare   and  became  one  of  the  greatest 
warriors ;  he  married  Bauggerd,  the  daughter  of  Alfhild  and 
Starkad.     He  settled  on  an  island  in  Halogaland  called  Bolm, 
and  was  therefrom  called  Eygrini  Bolm ;  their  son  was  Arn- 
grini  Berserk,  who  afterwards  lived  in  Bolm,  and  was  a  most 
famous  warrior  "  (Hervarar  Saga,  c.  1). 

"  King  Eirik  Bloodaxe  and  Gunnhild  came  the  same  evening 
to  Atli,  where  Bard  had  prepared  a  great  feast  for  him,  and 
there  was  to  be  a  disablot.  There  was  much  drinking  and 
feasting  in  the  hall.  The  king  asked  where  Bard  was,  for  he 
saw  him  nowhere.  A  man  replied  :  '  Bard  is  outside  helping 

1  See  Vol.  ii.,  p.  423. 

2  A  kind  of  duel.     See  p.  563. 

3  The  worship  of  the  Lares  and  Penates, 
the  household  deities  who  watched  over 
the  personal  and  pecuniary  interests  of 
individuals   and   families,  was   the   most 
prominent   feature  of  the  Etruscan  my- 

thology, whence  it  was  borrowed  by  the 
Romans.  Thence  it  was  also,  in  all 
probability,  that  the  Romans  obtained 
their  doctrine  of  an  attendant  genius 
watching  over  every  individual  from  his 
birth.  (See  Dennis's  '  Etruria,'  vol.  i., 
p.  59.) 


bis  guests.'  '  Who  are  those  guests,'  inquired  the  king, 
'  that  he  thinks  it  more  his  duty  to  be  there  than  inside  with 
us  ?  '  The  man  told  him  they  were  the  huskarlar  (servants)  of 
Thorir  hersir.  The  king  added  :  '  Go  to  them  as  speedily  as 
possible,  and  call  them  in  here.'  When  they  came,  the  king 
received  Olvir  well,  and  made  him  sit  opposite  him  in  the 
high-seat,  and  his  men  on  both  sides  of  him.  Egil  was  next 
to  Olvir ;  then  ale  was  brought  in,  and  many  memorial  toasts 
were  drunk,  a  horn  to  be  emptied  at  each.  As  the  evening 
was  drawing  to  a  close  many  of  Olvir's  men  became  drunk ; 
some  of  them  vomited  in  the  hall,  but  others  went  outside  " 
(Egil's  Saga,  c.  44). 

Even  at  Upsala  sacrifices  were  offered  to  the  Disir. 

"King  Adils  was  at  a  disabldt,  and  rode  on  a  horse  round 
the  disarsal  (hall  of  the  Disir) ;  his  horse  stumbled  and  fell, 
and  the  king  was  thrown  off,  and  his  head  hit  a  stone  so 
that  it  broke  and  his  brains  lay  on  the  stone.  This  caused  his 
death.  He  died  at  Uppsalir,  and  is  mound-laid  there ;  the 
Swedes  called  him  a  powerful  king  "  (Yuglinga  Saga,  c.  33). 

Among  the  Disir  two  women,  who  are  mentioned  several 
times  in  the  Sagas,  seem  to  have  been  regarded  as  special 
objects  of  worship.  These  are  the  sisters  Thorgerd  Horga- 
•brud,  or  Holgabrud,  and  Yrpa.  The  name  of  Horgabrud 
signifies  the  bride  of  the  altars,  and  indicates  her  supposed 
holiness ;  and  the  second  name,  Holgabrud,  undoubtedly 
shows  that  she  has  been  especially  worshipped  in  Halogaland, 
whence  the  family  of  the  great  Hakon  Jarl  hailed ;  thus 
Thorgerd  and  her  sister  came  to  be  the  special  guardians  of 
that  family  (see  Human  Sacrifice,  page  367). 

"  A  king  called  Holgi,  after  whom  Halogaland  is  named,  is 
said  to  have  been  the  father  of  Thorgerd  Holgabrud.  To  both 
of  them  sacrifices  were  made,  and  a  mound  was  raised  for 
Holgi ;  one  layer  was  of  gold  and  silver,  which  were  offerings, 
and  another  was  of  earth  and  stones  "  (Later  Edda  (Skald- 
skaparmal),  c.  45). 

The  Disir  are  often  spoken  of  as  Fylgja  (following  spirit1), 
and  Hamingja  (good  luck  or  family  spirit) ;  but  there  must 
have  been  some  distinction  between  them  and  the  Disir  proper, 
as  no  sacrifices  were  offered  to  the  Hamingja  and  Fylgja.1 

1  (1)  Viga  Glum,  9  ;  (2)  Laxdaela,  26 ;  Snorri,  St.  Olaf,  68, 


The  latter  seem  to  be  synonymous,  but  the  former  spirit, 
which  at  the  hour  of  death  left  the  dying  person  and  passed 
to  a  dear  son,  was  the  more  personal,  and  it  was  believed  that 
it  could  be  transmitted  from  one  man  to  another. 

The  expressions  Tcynfylyja  (kinguardians),  attarfylgja  (family 
guardians),  which  sometimes  occur  in  the  Sagas,  seem  to 
indicate  a  belief  that  the  eminent  qualities  of  a  family  were 
protected  by  these  spirits. 

King  Volsung  married  his  daughter  Signy  to  King  Siggeir. 
When  Siggeir  departed- 

"  Signy  said  to  her  father  :  '  I  do  not  want  to  go  with  Siggeir, 
and  my  mind  does  not  feel  love  towards  him,  and  I  know  by 
my  foresight,  and  from  our  tynfylgja,  that  this  marriage  will 
cause  much  sorrow  to  us  if  it  is  not  soon  broken  off"  (Volsunga 
Saga,  c.  4). 

Sometimes  the  guardian  spirit  of  one  man  would  follow 
another.  Thorstein  went  to  find  the  Dverg  Sindri,  and  gave 
him  good  gifts,  and  they  separated  with  the  greatest  friendship. 
The  Dverg  said- 

"  Now  must  we  separate  for  some  time,  and  fare  thee  well. 
I  tell  thee  that  my  Disir  will  constantly  follow  thee.  There- 
upon Thorstein  went  to  his  boat  and  rowed  to  his  men " 
(Thorstein  \7ikingsson,  ch.  xxii.). 

"  At  the  time  when  Olaf  came  to  Gardariki  there  were 
many  men  in  Holmgard  who  foretold  future  things  ;  they  all 
could  tell  by  their  wisdom  that  thefyfyjas  of  a  young  foreigner 
had  come  into  the  country,  and  that  these  were  so  lucky- 
looking  that  never  had  they  seen  the  fylgjas  of  any  man  like 
them ;  but  they  knew  not  who  or  whence  he  was ;  neverthe- 
less they  showed  with  many  words  that  the  bright  light 
shining  over  him  would  spread  all  over  Gardariki  and  widely 
through  the  eastern  half  of  the  world  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  I. 
c.  57). 

"Glum  dreamed  one  night  that  he  was  standing  outside  his 
farm,  and  looking  over  the  fjord,  and  that  he  saw  a  woman 
going  up  the  district  from  the  sea,  and  walking  towards 
Thvera  (the  farm  of  Glum).  She  was  so  large  that  her 
shoulders  touched  the  mountains  on  both  sides  of  the  valley ; 
he  went  from  the  house  to  meet  her,  and  invited  her  to  him, 
and  then  he  awoke.  All  thought  it  marvellous,  but  he  said  : 
'  The  dream  is  great  and  remarkable ;  but  thus  will  I  interpret 


it :  that  my  mother's  lather  Yigfus  must  be  dead,  and  that 
woman  who  was  taller  than  the  mountains  is  probably  his 
hamingja,  for  he  surpassed  others  in  most  things  of  honour, 
and  his  luck  will  dwell  where  I  am.'  Next  summer,  when 
ships  arrived  from  Norway,  the  death  of  Vigfus  was  heard  of  " 
(Viga  Glum,  c.  9). 

The  shapes  of  the  various  Fylyjas  can  best  be  found  from 
the  forms  in  which  the  people  thought  they  perceived  them. 
They  were  inherited  from  one  man  by  his  descendants  and 
even  relatives,  so  that  some  families  had  their  permanent 
guardianship ;  to  them  accordingly  was  often  ascribed  the 
success  of  some  individuals. 

The  shapes  most  frequently  assumed  were  those  of  birds 
and  animals,  and  in  some  such  shape  every  man  was  supposed 
to  have  his  fylgja*  indicative  of  his  character ;  cunning  people 
were  said  to  have  foxes  for  their fylgja ;  fierce  warriors,  wolves  ; 
great  chiefs,  eagles,  oxen,  bears,  and  other  animals.1  From 
numerous  Sagas  we  find  that  they  frequently  assumed  the 
shape  of  bears,  which  went  in  front  of  the  persons  they  wanted 
to  guard,  and  sometihies  presented  themselves  in  the  form  of 
the  human  being  whose  genii  they  were,  but  never  in  the  shape 
of  women 2  like  the  Disir  proper.  Those  of  the  deceased  were 
believed  to  warn  their  relatives,  kinsmen,  and  friends,  and 
appeared  at  or  before  important  events  in  the  life  of  the  person 
whom  they  guarded,  sometimes  while  he  was  awake,  but  as  a 
rule  in  dreams,  and  it  was  believed  that  a  sudden  sleepiness 
foreboded  their  coming.  Wherever  those  under  their  pro- 
tection went  they  accompanied  them,  preceding  them  to  such 
places  as  they  intended  to  visit. 

When  Halfred  while  on  a  voyage  to  Iceland  fell  sick— 

"  A  woman  was  seen  to  walk  along  the  ship ;  she  was  large 
and  had  on  a  coat  of  mail,  and  walked  on  the  waves  as  if  on 
land.  Halfred  looked  and  saw  that  it  was  his  female  guardiuii 

1  The  eagles  dreamt  of  by  Angantyr 
were  thought  to  be  the  fylgjas  of  cham- 
pions (Hervarar  Saga,  c.  5). 

Thorstein  Vikingsson  saw  in  the  many 
bears  which  attacked  him  a  foreboding 
of  a  king  or  a  king's  son  (Gautrek  and 

Thorstein  Uxafot  from  the  white  bear 
cub,  which  he  hud  observed  walking 
ahead  of  the  latter. 

-  N'jala,  12;  Fmnbogi  Kaimni's  Saga  ; 
Fornmanna  Sb'gur,  iii.  They  are  s>-. n 
in  a  walking  state.  Viga  Glinn's  Saga: 

Hrolf's    Saga;    Thorstein  Vikingsson,   c.    I    Halfred'sSaga,  22,  24;  Vatnsdsela,  p.  36; 


Thus  also  Geitir  guessed  the  birth  of 

Atlamal,  19  ;  Egil's  Saga,  50,  60  ;  Sogn- 
brot,  2. 



(fylgja-kona),  and  said  :  "  I  declare  myself  altogether  sundered 
from  thee.'  She  asked,  *  Wilt  thou,  Thorvald,  receive  me  ? ' 
He  replied  he  would  not.  Then  Halfred  the  young  (a  son  of 
the  poet  Halfred)  said,  '  I  will  receive  thee ; '  she  then 
vanished.  Then  Halfred  said :  '  I  will  give  to  thee,  my  son, 
the  sword  of  the  king,  but  the  other  things  shall  be  laid  in  my 
coffin  if  I  die  on  board  the  ship.'  He  sang  ('  God  rules  ;  I  fear 
hell ;  every  man  must  die ').  A  little  after  he  died,  and  was 
laid  in  a  coffin  with  his  things,  a  cloak,  a  helmet,  and  a  ring, 
and  then  thrown  overboard"  (Halfredar  Saga,  c.  11). 

The  chief  Hall  of  Sida  had  a  feast.  In  the  night  Thidrandi 
his  son  heard  some  one  knocking  repeatedly  at  the  door,  and 
went  out  with  a  sword  in  his  hand. 

"  He  heard  the  sound  of  horses'  feet  from  the  north,  and  saw 
nine  women1  riding  in  black  clothes  with  drawn  swords  in  their 
hands.  He  also  heard  horse-feet  from  the  south,  and  saw  nine 
women  all  in  white  clothes  on  white  horses.  He  wanted  to  go 
in  and  tell  this  vision  to  people,  but  the  black-dressed  women 
were  quicker  and  attacked  him,  while  he  defended  himself 

"  A  long  while  after  Thorhall  (one  of  the  guests)  awoke 
and  asked  if  Thidrandi  was  awake,  and  got  no  answer.  He 
said  it  was  too  late.  They  went  out.  The  moon  shone  and 
the  weather  was  frosty.  They  found  Thidrandi  lying  wounded  " 
(Fornmanna  Sogur). 

"  One  summer  King  Ivar  Yidfadmi  went  with  his  host  west 
from  Sweden  to  Reidgotaland,  and  landed  in  Selund.  He 
sent  word  to  his  son-in-law  Hroerek  to  come  to  him ;  he  told 
this  to  And  his  wife,  who  asked  if  he  intended  to  go  to  meet 
his  kinsman  and  invite  him  to  a  feast  on  shore.  In  the  evening, 
when  King  Hrcerek  retired,  And  had  prepared  a  new  bed  with 
all  the  clothes  in  it  new,  and  placed  it  on  the  middle  of  the 
floor ;  she  requested  him  to  sleep  therein,  to  remember  what  he 
dreamt,  and  tell  it  her  in  the  morning ;  and  she  made  herself 
another  bed.  In  the  morning,  when  asked  about  his  dream, 
'  I  dreamt,'  he  said,  "  that  I  was  standing  near  a  forest,  beside 
a  fine  level  field,  and  there  saw  a  stag.  Then  a  wild  beast, 
with  a  mane  like  gold,  ran  out  of  the  forest ;  the  stag  thrust  its 
horns  under  the  shoulder  of  the  beast,  and  it  fell  dead.  There- 

1  The  nine  women  in  black  had  been 
the  Disir  of  the  family,  which  was  going 
to  forsake  the  old  belief;  the  Disir 
wanted  to  take  with  them  the  best 
member  of  the  family  before  they  left. 
Therefore  they  slew  Thidrandi,  whom  the 
nine  white  Disir  try  in  vain  to  defend. 

The  nine  white  Disir  were  to  be  the 
guardian  spirit  of  the  family  after  it  had 
adopted  the  new  belief.  From  this  we 
can  see  that  the  new  religion  could  not 
entirely  overthrow  the  old  superstition 
and  belief. 


upon  I  saw  a  large  dragon  fly  to  where  the  stag  was,  at  once 
seize  it  in  its  claws,  and  tear  it  asunder.  Then  I  saw  a  she- 
bear  with  her  cub,  which  the  dragon  wanted  to  take,  but  the 
bear  defended  it ;  and  then  I  awoke.'  She  answered :  '  This 
is  a  remarkable  dream  ;  and  beware  thou  of  King  Ivar,  my 
father,  that  he  does  not  deceive  thee  when  thou  meetest  him, 
for  thou  hast  seen  kings'  fylgjas,  and  there  will  be  fights  with 
them,  and  it  will  be  well  if  this  stag  is  not  thy  own  fylgja, 
which  seems  most  likely  to  me"1  (Sogubrot,  c.  2). 

"  That  morning  Thorstein  awoke  in  his  room,  and  said  : 
'  Art  thou  awake,  Thorir  ?  '  'I  am,'  answered  Thorir,  '  but 
have  slept  till  now.'  Thorstein  said  :  '  1  want  to  get  ready  to 
go  away  from  this  room,  tor  I  know  that  Joknll  will  come 
hither  to-day  with  many  men.'  '  I  do  not  think  so,'  said 
Thorir,  'and  will  not  go;  but  how  hast  thou  found  it  out?' 
"•  1  dreamt,'  said  Thorstein,  '  that  thirty  wolves  ran  hither  and 
seven  bears,  with  an  eighth  red-cheeked  bear,  which  was  large 
.and  fierce  ;  with  them  also  were  two  she- foxes,  which  ran  ahead 
of  the  flock  and  were  rather  fierce-looking ;  I  disliked  them  most. 
All  the  wolves  attacked  us,  and  it  seemed  to  me  that  at  last 
they  tore  all  my  brothers  asunder,  except  thee  alone ;  but 
nevertheless  thou  didst  fall.  Many  thought  I  was  killed  by 
the  bears,  but  I  killed  all  the  wolves  and  the  smaller  she-fox ; 
then  I  fell.  What  thinkest  thou  this  dream  signifies  ? '  said 
Thorir.  '  I  think,'  said  Thorstein,  '  that  the  large  red-cheeked 
bear  is  Jokul's  fylgja,  but  that  the  other  bears  are  the  fylgja 
of  his  brothers,  and  all  the  wolves  I  have  seen  are  men  with 
them,  for  they  are  likely  to  show  the  tempers  of  wolves  to  us. 
With  regard  to  the  two  she-foxes,  I  do  not  know  the  men  who 
have  those  fylgja ;  I  think  they  have  lately  come  to  Jokul, 
and  they  must  be  disliked  by  most  men '  "  (Thorstein  Vikings- 
son,  c.  12). 

The  child  of  an  Icelandic  woman  by  name  of  Orny,  having 
been  exposed,2  was  saved  by  a  boudi  named  Krumrn,  and  by 
him  raised  as  his  own,  and  called  Thorstein.  One  day  when 
the  boy  was  seven  years  of  age  Krumm  went  with  him  to  Kross- 
.avik,  where  the  grandfather  of  the  boy,  Geitir,  lived.  While 
there  he  rushed  forward  on  the  floor,  as  is  the  habit  of  children, 
stumbled  and  fell.  As  Geitir  laughed,  the  boy  asked  him  why 
he  found  it  so  funny.  Geitir  answered  :- 

1  Persuaded  by  Ivar  Vidfadmi,  Hroerek 
-slew  his  brother  Helgi,  thinking  he  was 
too  good  friends  with  his  wife.  After- 
wards Ivar  slew  Hroerek  in  a  fight.  In 

the  wild  beast,  Ivar  is  the  dragon,  and 
the  she-bear  with  the  cub  is  Aud  with 
her  son. 

2  See   Exposure  of  Children,  Vol.    II., 

the  dream  Hroerek  is  the  stag,  Helgi  is 

VOL.  I.  2    E 


" '  It  is  true ;  for  I  saw  that  which  thou  didst  not  see/ 
*  What  was  it?'  said  Thorstein.  '  I  can  tell  thee.  When  thou 
earnest  into  the  room  a  young  white  bear  followed  thee,  and 
ran  before  thee  on  the  floor  ;  when  he  saw  me  he  stopped,  but 
thou  didst  rush  on  and  stumble  over  the  young  bear  ;  I  think 
thou  art  not  the  son  of  Krumm,  but  of  higher  kin'  "l  (Forn- 
manna  Sogur,  iii.  p.  113). 

"  He  (Thorhalli)  dreamt  a  dream  and  went  northward  to 
Finni.  When  he  came  to  the  door  he  said  :  '  I  should  like 
thee  to  explain  a  dream  which  I  have  dreamt.'  Finni  said : 
'  Go  ;  I  will  not  hear  thy  dream,'  and  pushed  the  door  and  said  : 
'  Go  away  as  quick  as  thou  canst,  and  tell  it  to  Gudmund  of 
Modruvellir,  or  else  thou  shalt  be  driven  away  with  weapons  at 
once.'  Then  he  went  away  to  Modruvellir.  Gudmund  had 
ridden  that  day  out  into  the  district  and  was  expected  home 
that  night.  Einar,  his  brother,  lay  down  and  fell  asleep.  He 
dreamt  that  an  ox,  very  fine-looking,  with  large  horns,  walked 
up  through  the  district ;  it  walked  up  to  Modruvellir  and  went 
to  every  house  of  the  farm,  and  at  last  to  the  high-seat,  and 
there  fell  dead.  Thereupon  Einar  said  :  '  This  forebodes  great 
tidings,  and  this  is  the  fylgja  of  a  man.'  Then  Gudmund 
came  home,  and  it  was  his  custom  to  go  to  every  house  of  the 
farm  beer.  When  he  had  come  to  his  high-seat  he  leant  back 
and  talked  with  Thorhalli,  who  told  him  his  dream.  Then  he 
rose  in  the  seat  when  food  was  brought.  It  was  hot  milk, 
warmed  with  stones.  Gudmund  said  :  '  This  is  not  hot.'  Thor- 
laug  said  :  '  Now  I  do  not  know  where  thy  liking  for  the  heat 
comes  from.'  He  drank  again  and  said  :  '  This  is  not  hot.' 
Then  he  sank  backward  and  was  dead.  Thorlaug  said  :  '  This 
is  great  tidings,  which  will  be  heard  widely  ;  no  man  shall 
touch  him,  and  often  has  Einar  had  forebodings  of  lesser 
tidings.'  Then  Einar  came  and  prepared  the  body  and  said : 
'  Thy  dream,  Thorhalli,  has  no  small  power,2  and  Finni  has 
seen  in  thee  that  the  man  to  whom  thou  didst  tell  the  dream 
would  be  death-fated,  and  he  liked  Gudmund  to  become  so. 
Cold  must  he  have  been  inside,  as  he  did  not  feel  anything ' 
(Ljosvetninga,  c.  21). 

The  country  as  well  as  the  people  had  its  guardian  spirits,  or 
Landvcettir,  by  which  it  and  its  inhabitants  were  protected, 
and  which  were  supposed  to  assume  different  shapes.  What 
the  Disir  and  Hamingja  were  to  the  family,  the  Landvcettir 
were  to  the  whole  or  a  large  tract  of  the  country  ;  and  though 
they  were  sometimes  attached  to  special  men,  whom  they 

1  Cf.  also  Orvar  Odd's  Saga,  c.  4. 

2  This  dream  seems  to  have  had  the 

power  to  make  the  first  man  who  heard 
it  death-fated. 


followed,  they  were  more  closely  connected  with  the  land  than 
with  the  people,  and  there  was  a  heathen  law  in  Iceland  pre- 
venting the  people  from  disturbing  them. 

They  were  subordinate  to  the  guardian  gods  of  each  country, 
and  excited  dreams  in  men,  and  on  behalf  of  the  guardian 
watched  over  those  places  at  which  they  dwelt ;  they  especially 
liked  to  dwell  on   mountains,  and  sometimes  the  dead  were 
assigned  places  with  them.1 

"  It  was  the  beginning  of  the  heathen  laws  that  men  should 
not  go  with  a  head-ship  (with  dragon-heads;  out  on  the  main 
sea,  or,  if  they  did,  they  should  take  the  heads  off  before  they 
saw  land,  and  not  approach  it  with  gaping  heads  and  yawning 
snouts,  that  the  landvoettir  might  not  be  frightened  "  (Land- 
narna,  c.  7). 

These  landvoettir  sometimes  loved  special  men,  and  followed 

"  Bjorn  (an  Icelander)  dreamt  one  night  that  a  rock- dweller 
came  to  him  and  offered  to  enter  into  partnership  with  him, 
and  he  consented.  Thereafter  a  he-goat  came  to  his  goats,  and 
they  increased  so  much  that  he  soon  became  very  rich.  After 
this  he  was  called  He  goat  Bjorn.  Second-sighted  men  saw 
that  all  landvoettir  followed  He-goat  Bjorn  to  the  Thing,  and 
Thorsteiu  and  Thord  (his  brothers)  to  hunting  and  fishing ': 
(Landnania,  iv.  c.  12). 

Egil,  fleeing  from  the  pursuit  of  King  Eirik  Bloodaxe  and 
his  men,  got  a  vessel  to  go  to  Iceland. 

"  And  when  they  were  ready  to  sail  Egil  went  upon  an 
island.  He  took  into  his  hand  a  hazel-pole  and  went  on  a 
projecting  rock,  pointing  landwards.  He  took  a  horse's  head 
and  fastened  it  upon  the  pole ;  then  he  said  the  following 
words  :  '  Here  I  raise  a  pole  as  a  curse,  and  I  turn  this  curse 
upon  King  Eirik  and  Queen  Gunnhild.'  He  turned  the  horse's 
head  so  that  it  pointed  landwards.  '  I  turn  this  curse  on  the 
guardian  spirits  who  dwell  in  this  country,  so  that  they  shall 
all  go  astray,  and  no  one  of  them  shall  meet  or  find  his  home 
until  they  have  driven  King  Eirik  and  Gunnhild  from  the 
land.  He  thrust  the  pole  into  a  rift  in  the  rock,  and  let  it 
stand  there  ;  he  carved  runes  on  the  pole  which  told  all  this 
imprecation.  Thereupon  he  went  on  board  ship  and  sailed  " 
(Egil's  Saga,  c.  60). 

1  Cf.  Olaf  Tiyggvasou's  Saga,  p.  37. 

2    E    2 



Influence  of  the  belief  in  "  the  hall  of  the  slain  " — A  warrior's  death  a  pass  te 
Valhalla — Figurative  offer  of  warriors  to  Odin — Self-sacrifice  to  Odin — 
Entrance  to  Valhalla — Food  and  drink  in  Valhalla — Odin's  welcome  to 

THE  belief  in  a  Valhalla  (the  hall  of  the  slain)  by  the 
ancestors  of  the  English  tribes  was  destined  to  exert  a  most 
potent  influence  upon  the  future  history  of  Europe.  It  made 
the  people  of  the  North  most  powerful  and  skilled  warriors  ;  it 
infused  into  their  minds  an  utter  disregard  of  death,  and  led 
them  to  accomplish  great  deeds  of  valour  in  their  own  and 
distant  lands.  To  fall  gloriously  on  a  battle-field  was  held  to 
assure  a  certain  entry  to  Valhalla ;  it  was  a  sign  of  the  favour 
of  Odin.  This  part  of  the  Valhalla  faith  was  so  deeply  rooted 
in  the  minds  of  the  people  that  it  lasted  to  the  very  end  of 
the  Pagan  era,  or  about  the  12th  century. 

In  G-rinismal,  which  gives  a  description  of  the  home  of  some 
of  the  gods  and  of  the  goddesses,  Freya  and  Saga,  we  read  :— 

Glwlsheim  l  is  the  fifth  called  That  hall  is  very 

Where  the  gleaming  Easily  known  to  those 

Valhalla  stands  ;  Who  come  to  Odin  : 

There  Hropt  (Odin)  chooses  A  wolf  hangs  4 

Every  day  West  of  the  door  ; 

Weapon-dead  men.2  An  eagle  hovers  above  it. 

That  hall  is  very 

Easily  known  to  those  Five  hundred  doors 

Who  come  to  Odin  ;  And  forty  more 

The  hall  is  roofed  with  shafts  ;  I  think  are  in  Valhalla  ; 

It  is  thatched  with  shields ;  Eight  hundred  Einherjar 5 

The    benches    are    strewn    with  Go  through  a  door  at  once 

l>rynja.s  When  they  go  to  fight  the  wolf. 

1  Gladsheim  =  Home  of  the  glad.  |    living   or  dead ;  it  may  mean   that   the 

2  Men  slam  by  weapons.  |    wolf  is  ready  to  pounce. 

3  Coats  of  mail  or  chain  armour.  3  Odin's  warriors.     In  Rno-uarok  these 

The  word  in  the  text  means  "  hangs," 
and  it  is  impossible  to  tell  if  the  wolf  is 

Einherjar    fight    with   Odin   against    the 
Fenri  wolf. 

A  LEGEND  ABOUT  K I\(i    YlKMi. 


To  those  men  of  old,  death  was  but  one  of  the  phases  of  their 
lives;  it  had  no  terrors  for  them,  and  they  faced  it  smilingly, 
bravely,  and  contentedly.  It  was  in  their  eyes  preferable 
to  dishonour,  or  the  humiliation  of  defeat  ;  vanquisher  and 
vanquished  when  dying  parted  friends,  and  praised  the  deeds 
of  each  other,  one  bidding-  the  other  speed  to  Valhalla  as  the 
tire  was  lighted  on  the  pyre,  or  as  the  burning  ship  that  was 
to  consume  the  body  sailed  from  the  shore.  The  victor 
often  mourned  that  he  had  not  been  among  the  slain  and 
chosen,  and  consoled  himself  by  thinking  that  he  must  obtain 
more  renown  and  do  braver  deeds  before  he  could  aspire  to 
meet  Odin.  There  is  something  grand  and  noble  in  this 
despising  of  life,  and  in  aspiring,  during  its  continuance,  to 
do  great  and  noble  deeds. 

Before  the  fight  the  combatants  told  each  other  that  they 
would  go  to  Valhalla,  and  the  hosts  of  the  enemy  were  figura- 
tively given  to  Odin  by  throwing  a  spear  over  them  ;  l  King 
Vikar,  of  Hordaland,  was  thus  given  to  the  god  by  his  mother.2 
Odin  himself  steered  Harald  Hilditonn's  war-waggon  in  the 
battle,  and  killed  his  favourites  with  Harald's  weapons  for  he 
was  old,  and  could  not  bear  the  brunt  of  any  more  fighting. 
Eirik  the  victorious  threw  over  Styrbjorn's  host  the  spear 
which  Odin  gave  him,  accompanying  the  action  with  the  words 
"  Odin  owns  you  all." 

"  King  Vikar  sailed  from  Agdir  north  to  Hordaland  with 
many  men.  He  stayed  a  long  time  in  some  islands  and  had 
strong  headwinds.  They  threw  chips  (sacrifice-chips)  to  get 
fair  wind,  and  it  fell  thus  that  Odin  was  to  receive  a  man  out 
of  the  host  to  be  hanged  by  drawing  of  lots.  The  host  was 
divided  for  lot-drawing,  and  the  lot  of  King  Vikar  was  drawn. 
At  this  all  grew  silent,  and  it  was  resolved  that  the  counsellors 
should  nest  day  have  a  meeting  about  the  difficulty.  About 
midnight  Hrossharsgrani  (Odin)  roused  his  foster-son  Starkad. 
and  asked  him  to  go  with  him.  They  took  a  little  boat  and  row<  •<  1 
to  an  islet  inside  the  island.  They  walked  up  to  a  wood,  and 
found  a  clearing  crowded  with  men.  A  Thing  was  held  there, 
and  eleven  men  sat  on  chairs,  but  the  twelfth  was  not  occupied. 
They  went  forward  to  the  Tiling,  and  Hrossharsgrani  (Odin) 

1  Voluspa,  24 ;  Hervarar  Saga,  5;  Kyr- 
byggja,  44  ;  Fornraanna  Sogur,  v.  250. 
Harald  Hilditonn  was  given  to  Odin  at 

his  birth  (cf.  Saxo).     He  was   victorious 
all  his  life  till  his  last  battle. 
2  Cf.  also  Gautrek's  Saga,  c.  7 


sat  down  on  the  twelfth  chair.  They  all  greeted  Odin.  He 
said  that  the  judges  should  judge  about  the  fate  of  Starkad. 
Thor  said  :  '  Alfhild,  the  mother  of  Starkad's  father,  chose  a 
bad  Jotun  as  father  for  her  son  instead  of  Asathor,  and  I  fore- 
cast for  Starkad  that  he  shall  neither  have  a  son  nor  a  daughter, 
and  thus  end  his  kin.'  Odin  answered  :  '  I  forecast  for  him 
that  he  shall  live  as  long  as  the  lives  of  three  men.'  Thor 
said  :  '  He  shall  do  a  nithings  deed  in  each  of  the  three  lives.' 
Odin  answered  :  '  I  forecast  for  him  that  he  shall  have  the  best 
weapons  and  clothes.'  Thor  said :  '  I  forecast  for  him  that  he 
shall  neither  own  land  nor  sea.'  Odin  answered  :  '  I  give  him 
that  lie  shall  have  very  much  loose  property.'  Thor  said  :  '  I  lay 
on  him  a  spell  which  shall  make  him  think  he  never  has 
enough.'  Odin  answered :  '  I  give  him  victory  and  skill  in 
every  fight.'  Thor  said  :  '  He  shall  become  maimed  in  every 
fight,'  Odin  said  :  '  I  give  him  skaldship  so  that  he  shall  make 
poetry  as  quickly  as  he  talks.'  Thor  said :  '  He  shall  not 
remember  the  poetry  he  makes.'  Odin  said  :  '  I  forecast  for  him 
that  he  be  thought  the  greatest  by  the  most  high-born  and 
best  men.'  Thor  said  :  '  He  shall  be  disliked  by  all  people.' 
The  judges  judged  all  that  they  had  said  of  Starkad  to  be 
his  fate,  and  then  the  Thing  was  dissolved.  Hrossharsgrani 
and  Starkad  went  to  their  boat.  Hrossharsgrani  said  to  Star- 
kad :  '  Now  thou  must  reward  me  well,  foster-sou,  for  the  help  I 
gave  thee.'  Starkad  assented.  «  Then,'  said  Grani, '  thou  shalt 
send  King  Vikar  to  me,  and  I  will  tell  thee  how  to  do  it,'  He 
handed  Starkad  a  spear,  and  said  it  would  look  like  a  reed. 
They  came  back  to  the  host  when  it  was  nearly  day.  The 
next  morning  the  counsellors  of  the  king  met  to  take  counsel, 
and  agreed  to  make  some  semblance  of  sacrifice,  and  Starkad 
told  their  counsel.  There  stood  a  fir-tree  near  them,  and  a 
high  stump  near  it ;  low  on  the  fir  was  a  slender  shoot 
which  reached  up  to  the  limbs.  Servants  prepared  the  food  of 
the  men,  and  a  calf  was  killed  and  cut  up.  Starkad  had  the 
entrails  taken  out,  mounted  the  stump,  bent  down  the  slender 
twig,  and  tied  the  entrails  to  it.  Then  he  said  to  the  king : 
Now  a  gallows  is  ready  for  thee,  king,  and  it  will  not  seem  very 
dangerous  for  men.  Go  hither  and  I  will  lay  the  string  round 
thy  neck.'  The  king  said :  '  If  this  contrivance  is  not  more 
dangerous  than  it  looks  to  me,  then  I  do  not  think  it  will  hurt 
me ;  but,  if  it  is  otherwise,  then  fate  will  rule  it.'  Then  he 
mounted  the  stump,  and  Starkad  laid  the  string  round  his 
neck,  and  stepped  down  from  the  stump.  Then  he  struck  him 
with  the  reed,  and  said, '  Now  I  give  thee  to  Odin.'  He  let  go 
the  twig,  and  the  reed  changed  into  a  spear  which  pierced  the 
king ;  the  stump  sank  down  under  his  feet,  the  calf's  entrails 


were  turned  into  a  strong  withy,  and  the  twig  rose  and  lifted 
the  king  up  to  the  limbs,  and  there  he  died  "  (Gautrek's  Saga, 
c.  1). 

Men  occasionally  sacrificed  themselves  by  throwing  them- 
selves from  cliffs  so  that  they  might  be  acceptable  to  Odin 
and  go  to  Valhalla. 

"  Once  King  Gauti,  of  Vestr  Gautland,  was  hunting  and 
lost  his  way  ;  he  found  a  small  farm  where  the  people  were 
afraid  of  him.  When  he  went  to  bed  a  girl  came  to  him,  and 
'when  he  asked  about  her  family  she  answered:  'My  father 
is  called  Skafnortung  (pincher),  because  he  is  so  stingy  that 
he  cannot  bear  to  see  food  or  anything  else  which  is  his  de- 


crease  ;  my  mother  is  called  Totra  (tattered),  because  she  never 
wants  to  wear  any  clothes  but  those  which  are  worn  and  in 
tatters  ;  she  calls  that  thrift.'  The  king  asked  :  'What  are  the 
names  of  thy  brothers  ?  '  She  answered  :  '  One  is  called  Fjol- 
modi,  the  second  Imsigul,  the  third  Gilling.'  The  king  asked  : 
'  What  art  thou  and  thy  sisters  called  ?  '  She  answered  :  '  My 
name  is  Snotra,1  because  I  was  thought  the  wisest  of  us  all ;  my 
sisters  are  called  Hjotra  and  Fjotra.  There  is  a  rock  close  to 
our  farm  called  Giilingshamar,  and  near  it  a  steep  rock,  which 
we  call  zEtternisstapi  (family  rock)  ;  it  is  so  high  and  so  steep 
that  anything  alive  falling  down  from  it  is  killed.  We  give 
it  the  name  ^Etternisstapi,  because  by  its  help  we  reduce 
our  family  in  number  when  it  seems  to  us  that  some  great 
\\onders  happen.  All  our  forefathers  died  there  without  any 
sickness,  and  then  went  to  Odin  ;  we  need  not  have  any  burden 
or  sulkiness  from  our  fathers  and  mothers,  for  this  place  of  joy 
has  been  equally  easy  for  all  our  kinsmen  to  get  to  ;  we  need  not 
live  with  loss  of  property,  or  want  of  food,  or  any  other  wonders 
or  portents  that  may  happen.  Now  my  father  thinks  it  the 
greatest  wonder,  that  thou  hast  come  to  our  house ;  it  would 
have  been  a  very  uncommon  thing  even  if  a  man  of  low  birth 
had  taken  food  here ;  but  this  is  most  strange  that  a  king, 
chilled  and  without  clothes,  has  come  to  us,  for  that  has  never 
before  happened.  To-morrow  my  father  and  mother  intend  to 
divide  the  inheritance,  among  us  their  children  ;  they  will  then 
with  the  thrall  go  down  the  ^Etternisstapi,  and  journey  to 
Valhalla.  My  father  will  reward  the  thrall  for  his  goodwill,  in 
intending  to  drive  thee  from  the  door,  with  nothing  less  than 
that  he  shall  enjoy  the  happiness  with  him,  for  he  is  sure  that 
Odin  will  not  go  to  meet  the  thrall  unless  he  is  in  his  company."2 

One  of  the  goddesses  is  also  called 


2  From  this  we  learn  that  a  serf  must    | 

be  iu  company  with  some  one  freeboru  in 
order  to  au  to  Odin. 


Then  she  slept  with  the  kin*;,  who  when  he  took  leave  asked 
her  to  let  their  child,  if  a  boy,  be  called  Gantrek. 

"  When  Snotra  came  home,  her  father  said  :  'A  great  wonder 
has  happened  that  this  king  lias  come  to  our  farm  and  eaten 
up  a  great  deal  of  our  property  which  we 'least  of  all  wanted  to 
lose.  I  think  we  cannot  maintain  our  family  on  account  of 
poverty,  and  therefore  I  have  brought  together  all  my  property r 
and  want  to  divide  the  inheritance  between  my  sons.  I  and 
my  wife  and  my  thrall  intend  to  go  to  Valhalla.  I  cannot 
reward  the  thrall  better  for  his  faithfulness  than  by  taking  him 
with  me ;  Grilling  together  with  his  sister  Snotra  shall  get 
my  good  ox;  Fjolmodi  and  his  sister  Hjotra  shall  have  my 
gold-bars ;  Imsigul  and  his  sister  Fjotra  shall  have  all  the 
corn  and  the  fields  ;  but  I  ask  you,  my  children,  not  to  increase 
your  number  so  that  you  cannot  preserve  my  inheritance/ 
When  Skafnortung  had  said  what  he  liked  they  all  went  up  ou 
Gillingsrock,  and  they  led  their  lather  and  mother  down  on  the 
./Etternisstapi,  and  they  went  cheerfully  and  merrily  to  Odin, 
Now  when  they  came  homo  they  consulted  how  to  manage  ; 
they  took  wooden  pins  and  pinned  the  vadmal  (thick  woollen 
cloth)  round  every  one,  so  that  none  of  them  touched  the  other 
naked ;  they  thought  this  the  best  way  of  preventing  their 
number  increasing.  Snotra  became  aware  that  she  was  with 
child ;  she  moved  the  wooden  pin  in  the  vaduial  so  that  she 
could  be  touched  with  the  hand,  and  affected  sleep.  When 
Gilling  woke  he  touched  her  cheek  with  his  hand,  and  said  : 
'  This  is  bad  that  I  have  hurt  thee ;  it  seems  to  me  thou  art 
much  stouter  than  before.'  She  answered  :  'Hide  this  as  well 
as  thou  canst.'  He  said  :  '  That  shame  I  will  not  have,  for 
this  cannot  be  hidden  when  our  number  is  increased.' 

"  Two  black  snakes  crept  on  the  gold-bars  of  Fjolmod,  who- 
therefore  with  his  wife  threw  himself  down  from  the  /Etternis- 
stapi.  Imsigul  saw  a  bird  take  corn  from  his  field  ;  therefore 
he  and  his  wife  went  down  from  ^Etternisstapi.  Gilling,  the 
third  brother,  did  the  same  after  Gautrek,  Snotra's  boy,  had 
slain  his  ox.  Snotra  being  left  alone  went  to  King  Gauti  " 
(Gautrek's  Saga,  c.  1,  2). 

The  scald  Eyvind  composed  a  poem  on  King  Hakon 
Adalsteinsfostri  after  his  death  in  the  battle  of  Stord  against 
the  sons  of  Eirik  Blood-axe,  and  in  this  poem  we  see  how  he 
made  his  entrance  into  Valhalla,  and  how  Odin  sent  Valkyrias 
to  choose  those  he  loved. 

"  The  body  of  King  Hakon  Adalstein's  foster-son,  after  the 
battle,  was  carried  to  Sceheim  in  Lygrisfjord,  in  North  Horda- 

£IXG  HAKOX'K  L  \TllA\('i:  TO  VALHALLA. 


land,  ami  a  mound  thrown  up  over  it.  Before  he  fell  eight 
sons  of  Harald  (fair-hair)  had  been  slain  in  fight,  as  Eyvind  has 
told,  and  he  has  said  that  the  king  went  to  Valhalla,  for  it 
was  the  belief  of  the  heathen  that  all  who  died  of  wounds 
were  taken  to  Valhalla."  * 

Gondul  and  Skogul2 
Gautatyr3  sent 
To  choose  among  kings 
Who  of  Yngvi's  kin4 
Should  to  Odin  go 
In  Valhalla  to  dwell. 

They  found  the  brother  of  Bjorn5 

Putting  on  his  mail-coat, 

The  well-endowed  king 

Stood  under  the  war-banner. 

The  battle-oars  drooped,6 

The  spear  trembled, 

And  then  the  battle  began. 

He  called  to  the  Halogalanders 
And  the  Bogalauders ; 
The  only  slayer  of  jarls7 
Walked  into  the  fight ; 
The  generous  one  had 
A  good  host  of  Northmen  ; 
The  frightener  of  Eydanir 
Stood  early  under  a  helmet.8 

The  chief  of  the  host 

Ere  he  began  the  fight 

Stripped  himself  of  his  war-dress, 

Flung  his  mail-coat  on  the  plain. 

He  played  with  the  sons  of  men  ; 9 

He  had  to  defend  his  land  ; 

The  merry  king10 

Stood  under  a  gold  helmet. 

Thus  did  the  sword 
In  the  king's  hand 
Cut  the  cloth  of  Vafad  u 
As  if  it  cut  water. 
The  spears  cracked, 
The  shields  were  broken. 
The  clashing  swords  rattled 
Upon  the  heads  of  men. 

The  shields  and  heads 

Of  Northmen  were  trodden 

By  the  hard  feet 

Of  the  warriors'  hilts.12 

There  was  fray  on  the  island, 

And  the  kings  reddened 

The  shining  shield-burgh 

"•With  the  blood  of  men. 

The  wound-fires13  burned 

In  bloody  wounds. 

The  halberds  sunk 

Into  men's  bodies  ; 

The  wound-drops  gushed  H 

On  the  cape  of  swords  ; 1S 

The  flood  of  arrows  (blood)  swelled 

On  the  shore  of  Stord. 

The  gales  of  Skogul  (fights) 
Were  mingled  together 
Under  the  reddened  sky  of  shields' ; 
The  clouds  (arrows)  played  about  the 

1   Fagrskinna. 
•  Two  Valkyrjas. 

3  Gautatyr  =  the  god  of  the  Gautar  = 

4  Yngvi's     kin    =    the    Ynglings    de- 
scended from  Odin. 

5  The  brother  of  Bjorn,  who  was  one 
of  Harald  Fairhair's  sons,  is  Hakon. 

6  Battle-oars  =  sword-blades  ;     a    fine 

7  Hakon. 

8  We  s,ee  from  the  last  line  of  stanza  4 

that  Hakon  wore  a  gold  helmet.  It  is- 
also  said  in  the  prose  that  he  was  con- 
spicuous by  it  in  the  battle. 

9  Battle  is  often  called  play  or  game  ; 
cf.  the  synonyms  for  battle. 

10  Gram. 

11  Vafad  =  Odin  ;  Odin's  cloth  =  armour. 

12  The  hard  feet  of  the  hilt  =  sword- 

13  Weapons. 

14  Wound-drop  =  blood. 

15  Cape  of  swords  =  armour. 


The  sea  of  sword-points  sounded 
In  the  tempest  of  Odin  ;J 
Many  men  did  sink 
In  the  stream  of  the  sword. 

Then  sat  the  chiefs 
With  diawn  swords, 
With  broken  shields 
And  coats-of-rnail  cut. 
The  host  that  had  to  fight 
For  Valhalla, 
Was  not  in  high  spirits. 

Then  Gondul  said, 
Leaning  on  her  spear-shaft : 
"  Now  the  following  of  the  gods  in- 
creases ; 

Fur  the  powers  have 
Bidden  Hakon  home 
With  a  great  host." 

The  king  heard 

What  the  Valkyrjas  said. 

The  high  ones  on  horseback 

Bore  themselves  handsomely 

And  sat  helmeted 

With  shields  in  front. 


Why  didst  thou  decide  the  battle 
As  thou  didst  yesterday,  Skogul  ? 
We  surely  deserved 
Victory  from  the  gods. 


We  have  caused 
Thee  to  keep  the  field 
And  thy  foes  to  flee. 

Xo\v  we  shall  ride, 

Said  the  mighty  ykogul, 

To  the  good  homes  of  the  gods 

To  tell  Odin 

That  the  All-ruler  is  coming 

To  see  him. 

Herrnod  and  Bragi, 

Said  Hroptatyr,2 

Go  you  to  meet  the  king 

As  one  3 

Who  is  thought  a  champion 

Comes  this  way  to  the  hall. 

Thus  spoke  the  king 

As  he  canie  from  the  battle 

All  bespattered  with  blood : 

Odin  to  us 

Sullen  seems 

If  we  can  read  his  mind. 


Thou  shalt  have  peace 

With  all  Einherjar 

And  get  cheer  from  the  Asar; 

Fighter  of  jarls, 

Thou  hast  here  within 

Eight  brothers,4  said  Bragi. 

Our  war-dress, 

Said  the  good  king, 

Will  we  keep  ourselves; 

Helmet  and  coat-of-mail 

Must  be  well  cared  for ; 

It  is  good  to  have  them  ready. 

When  it  was  known 
That  the  king  had 
Eespected  well  the  temples, 
All  the  powers  and  gods 
Did  Hakon 
Welcome  bid. 

On  a  lucky  day 

Is  the  king  born 

Who  has  a  mind  like  this ; 

His  time 

Will  always 

Be  mentioned  for  good. 

The  Fenrir-wolf  will  be 
Let  loose 

Upon  the  seat  of  men 5 
Before  as  good 

1  Tempest  of  Odin  =  battle,  which  can 
also  be  called  the  storm  of  any  Valkyvja, 
and  has  many  other  names. 

-  Hropt  or  Hroptatyr  —  the  shouting 
crod  =  Odin. 

3  Hakon. 

4  Eight  brothers,  that  is  half-brothers, 
Harald  Fairhair  being  the  father  of  them 

5  Bv  this  is  meant  end  of  the  world. 



A  king  arises 

In  the  empty  land. 

Cattle  die, 
Kinsmen  die, 

Land  and  ground  are  laid  waste. 
Since  Hakou  went 
To  the  heathen  gods 
Many  men  are  mournful. 

The  warriors  who  went  to  Valhalla  were  named  Einherjar, 
and  their  food  and  drink  are  thus  described  :— 

"  Then  said  Gangleri :  '  Thou  sayest  that  all  men  who  have 
fallen  in  battle  since  the  beginning  of  the  world  have  now  come 
to  Odin  in  Valhalla :  what  has  he  to  give  them  to  eat  '  It  seems 
to  me  that  there  must  now  be  a  great  multitude.'  Har  replied, 
'  Thou  sayest  true  that  there  are  very  great  hosts  of  men 
there  ;  but  there  will  be  many  more,  nevertheless  they  will  be 
thought  too  few,  when  the  wolf  comes ;  but  there  are  never 
such  hosts  in  Valhalla  that  there  is  not  more  than  enough  of 
the  flesh  of  the  boar  called  Saehrimnir.  He  is  boiled  every  day, 
and  every  night  he  is  whole  again.  As  to  this  question  which 
thou  now  askest,  I  think  few  are  wise  enough  to  be  able  to 
tell  the  truth  about  it '  '  (Later  Edda). 

"Then  Gangleri  said  :  'What  have  the  Einherjar1  to  drink 
which  may  last  as  long  as  the  food  ?  Is  water  drunk  there  ? ' 
Har  answered  :  'Strangely  dost  thou  ask  ;  as  if  Allfodr  (All- 
father  =  Odin)  would  invite  to  him  kings  or  jarls  or  other  power- 
ful men  and  give  them  water  to  drink ;  and,  by  my  troth, 
many  of  the  comers  to  Valhalla  would  think  the  drink  of  water 
dearly  bought  if  no  better  cheer  were  to  be  had  there,  and  they 
have  before  suffered  pains  and  wounds  unto  death.  I  can  tell 
thee  another  thing.  The  goat  Heidrun  stands  on  the  roof  of 
Valhalla,  and  bites  buds  off  the  branches  of  a  very  famous  tree, 
Lerad,  and  from  her  teats  flows  a  mead  which  fills  a  large 
vessel  every  day ;  the  vessel  is  so  large  that  all  the 
Einherjar  may  get  quite  drunk  out  of  it.'  Gangleri  said  :  '  That 
is  an  exceedingly  useful  goat  for  them  ;  the  tree,  on  which  she 
feeds  must  be  very  good.'  Har  said  :  '  Still  more  remarkable  is 
the  stag  Eikthyrnir  which  stands  on  Valhalla  and  feeds  on  the 
branches  of  this  tree.  From  his  horns  there  falls  such  a  large 
drop  that  it  comes  down  into  Hvergelmir,  and  thence  fall  the 
rivers  named,  Sid,  Vid,  Sekin,  Ekin,  Svol,  Gunnthro,  Fjorm, 
Fimbulthul,  Gipul,  Goptil,  Goinul,  Geirvimul,  which  run 
through  the  Asa-land'  '  (Later  Edda,  Gylfaginning,  c.  39). 

1  Einherjar  is  plural,  and  is  a  com- 
pound. Em  =  only,  single ;  and  lierjar, 
from  the  verb  herja  =  make  warfare. 
Thus  it  means  the  only  fighters,  the 

only  champions,  being  the  warriors  chosen 
by  Odin  to  dwell  in  Valhalla  with  him. 
while  Freyja  lodged  one-half  of  the 



The  warriors  in  Valhalla  appear  to  have  divided  their  time 
In -tween  drinking  and  fighting. 


Tell  me,  .  .  . 

Where  men  in  the  grass-plot 

Fight  every  day? 

They  slay  whom  they  choose 

And  ride  from  the  fight 

And  sit  together  well  agreeing. 


All  the  Einherjar 
In  the  grass-plot  of  Odin 
Fight  every  day  ; 
They  slay  whom  they  choose 
And  ride  from  the  fi^ht 
And  sit  together  well  agreeing. 

In  Grrimnismal  we  are  told  that  the  cook  in  Valhalla  was. 
called  Andhrimnir,  and  the  cauldron  Eldhrininir  :— 

Andhrimnir  does 
Cook  Saehrimnir 
In  Eldhrininir ; 

The  best  of  pork, 

But  few  know 

By  what  the  Einherjar  live. 

"  Then  Gangleri  said :  '  A  great  many  men  are  there  in 
Valhalla ;  surely  Odin  is  a  very  great  chief,  as  he  rules  over 
such  a  host.  What  is  the  entertainment  of  the  Einherjar  when 
they  are  not  drinking  ? '  Har  answered :  '  Every  day  after 
having  dressed  they  put  on  their  war  clothes,  and  go  out  into 
the  enclosure  and  tight  and  slay  each  other.  This  is  their 
game  ;  near  day-meal 1  they  ride  home  to  Valhalla  and  sit  down 
to  drink  2  '  (Later  Edda,  c.  40). 

Odin  did  not  eat,  for  wine  was  to  him  both  food  and  drink. 

"  Then  said  Gangleri :  '  Has  Odin  the  same  fare  as  the 
Einherjar  ?  '  Har :  '  The  food  which  stands  on  his  board  he 
gives  to  his  two  wolves,  Geri  and  Freki ; 3  he  needs  no  food, 
for  wine  is  both  drink  and  food  to  him. 

"  King  Eirek  (blood-axe  of  Northumberland),  son  of  Harald 
Fairhair,  one  summer  made  warfare  west  of  Scotland,  and  in 
Ireland,  and  in  Bretland  (Wales),  and  did  not  stop  before  he 
came  south  to  England,  and  ravaged  there  as  in  other  places, 
because  King  Adalstein  (Ethelstan)  was  then  dead,  and  his 
son  Jatmund  ruled  England  "  (Fagrskinna,  c.  27). 

"  Eirik  had  a  host  so  large  that  five  kings  followed  him. 
As  he  was  a  man  of  great  bravery  and  a  victorious  man  he 

1  Chief  meal,  corresponding  in  time  to 

2  Cf.  also  Vafthrudnismal,  41. 

3  Cf.  also  Grimnismal,  19  : — 

"  Geri  and  Freki 
Does  the  battle-tamer  feed, 

The  famous  Herjafodr  (father 

of  hosts  of  Odin)  ; 
But  by  wine  only 
The  weapon-famous 
Odin  always  lives." 

THE  WELCOME  <>F  ODIN  To  Kilt  IK. 

42!  > 

trusted  so  well  himself  and  his  host  that  he  went  far  inland 
with  warfare.  Then  King  Olaf,  King  Jatmund's  tax-king,4 
came  against  him ;  they  fought,  and  Eirik  was  overpowered 
by  the  land-host,  and  fell  there  with  all  his  men.  Arnkel 
and  Erlend,  the  sons  of  Torfeinar  (jarl  in  the  Orkneys),  fell 
there  with  him  (Fagrskinna,  c.  28). 

After  the  death  of  Eirik,  Gunnhild  (his  wife)  caused  a  poem 
to  be  made  on  him,  how  Odin  welcomed  him,  which  gives  us 
an  idea  of  the  belief  of  people  about  the  Valhalla. 

What  dreams  are  those  ? 

Methought  a  little  before  day 

That  I  made  Valho'll  ready 

For  slain  people ; 

I  bid  the  valkyrjas  cany  wine, 

As  a  king  (visi)  was  coming ; 

I  expect 

From  the  earth 

Some  famous  warriors ; 

Therefore  is  my  heart  glad. 

What  is  thundering,  Bragi, 

As  if  a  thousand  were  moving, 

Or  a  multitude  of  men? 

The  wainscot  walls  do  creak  (Bragi 


As  if  Baldr  were  coming 
Back  to  the  halls  of  Odin. 
Foolish  talk  (said  Odin) 
Sayest  thou,  wise  Bragi, 
Though  thou  well  knowest  all  things 
It  is  thundering  for  Eirik 
AVho  will  come  here 
The  chief  into  the  halls  of  Odin. 

Sigmund  and  Sinfjotli ! 

Rise  quickly 

And  go  meet  the  chief; 

Bid  him  come  in 

If  it  be  Eirik, 

For  him  I  now  expect. 

I  awakened  the  Einherjar; 

I  bid  them  rise 

To  spread  the  benches  with  straw, 

To  wash  the  beer-vessels, 

Why  expectest  thou  Eirik  (Sigmund 


More  than  other  kings  ?  (konung) 
In  many  a  land  (said  Odin) 
Has  he  reddened  the  sword  (mcekir) 
And  carried  the  bloody  blade. 

Why  didst  thou  then  deprive  him  of 


As  thou  thoughtest  he  was  brave  ? 
Because  it  is  uncertain 
When  the  grey  wolf  looks 
To  the  seat  of  the  gods. 

Hail  no\v,  Eirik  (said  Sigmund), 
Thou  shall  be  welcome  here ; 
Enter  the  hall,  wise  man  ; 
I  would  ask 
Who  follows  thee 

Of  kings  (jb'fr)  from  the  thunder  of 
edges  (battle) '? 

There  are  five  (said  Eirik). 
I  shall  tell  the  names  of  all. 
I  am  myself  the  sixth. 

Some  under-king,  or  host-kings,  probably  from  Norway. 



Popular  belief  in  the  power  of  shape-changing — Journeys  taken  under  assumed- 
shapes — The  language  of  birds — Use  of  animal  food  to  incite  to  bravery 
—The  drink  of  oblivion. 

WE  have  many  instances  in  the  Sagas  showing  that  there 
was  a  popular  belief  in  the  power  of  some  persons  to  change 
their  shape  1  (hamhleypa),  either  by  their  own  will  or  by  the 
power  of  witchcraft.  No  matter  into  what  animal  shape  an 
individual  had  been  changed,  no  spell  could  ever  touch  the 
human  eye,  which  remained  unchangeable. 

Men  often  undertook  journeys  under  an  assumed  shape,  in 
which  case  their  own  body  was  supposed  to  lie  as  dead,  in  a 
magical  sleep ;  and  a  spirit  was  considered  most  fit  for  a 
journey  when  it  was  in  animal  shape  :  the  name  of  the  person 
who  was  on  the  journey  was  never  to  be  mentioned,  and  it 
was  considered  most  important  that  a  sleeper  should  not  be 
aroused,  for  if  disturbed  the  whole  enchantment  was  destroyed. 

Women  who  undertook  journeys  in  such  animal  shapes 
were  called  hamhleypa,  or  runners  under  another  shape. 

"  It  is  said  that  Ulf,  a  hersir,2  every  night  became  so  cross 
that  no  one  could  speak  to  him,  and  that  in  the  evening  the 
sleeping  sickness  came  over  him,  so  that  he  fell  asleep.  But 
there  were  those  who  said  that  he  could  change  his  shape  and 
roam  about  far  away  as  a  wild  beast,  and  that  it  was  only  his 
body  which  sat  sleeping  in  the  house;  therefore  his  name 
was  lengthened,  and  he  was  called  Kveldulf  (Evening  Ulf)  " 
(Egil's  Saga,  ch.  1). 

"  It  is  mentioned  that  once  when  Signy  was  sitting  in  her 
skemma 3  there  came  to  her  a  Volva  very  skilled  in  witch- 

1  The  belief  in  men  having  the  power 
to  change  their  shape  is  common  in 
Africa  to  this  day.  See  Ashangoland. 

See  hereditary  dignity,  p.  491. 

See  a  house  or  room.    Vol   II.,  p.  259. 



craft.  Signy  spoke  to  her  :  '  I  want  to  exchange  shapes  with 
you.'  She  said,  '  Thou  shalt  have  thy  will  ; '  so  she  caused  by 
her  witchcraft  that  they  exchanged  appearance ;  the  sorceress 
sat  down  on  the  bed  of  Signy,  as  she  told  her,  and  went  to 
bed  with  the  king  in  the  evening,  and  he  did  not  know  that 
Signy  was  not  with  him.  Of  Signy  it  is  said  that  she  went 
to  the  earth-house  of  her  brother  Sigmund,  and  asked  him  to 
lodge  her  during  the  night,  as  she  had  gone  astray  in  the 
forest,  and  did  not  know  where  she  was.  He  said  she  could 
stay  there,  and  lie  would  not  refuse  a  lonely  woman  lodgings, 
and  thought  she  would  not  reward  him  for  the  good  enter- 
tainment by  telling  where  he  was.  She  went  into  his  room 
and  they  sat  down  to  eat ;  he  often  looked  at  her,  and  sho 
seemed  fair  and  fine  to  him.  .  .  .  Thereupon  she  went  home, 
met  the  sorceress,  and  asked  to  exchange  shapes  again,  and 
thus  she  did.  When  time  passed  on  Signy  gave  birth  to  a 
boy,  who  was  called  SintjotJi.  When  he  grew  up  he  was 
large  and  strong  and  good-looking,  and  resembled  much  the 
Volsunga  family  ;  he  was  not  quite  ten  winters  old  when  she 
sent  him  to  Sigmund  in  the  underground  house.  She  had 
tried  her  other  sons  before  she  sent  them  to  Sigmund  by 
sewing  gloves  to  their  hands  through  flesh  and  skin.  They 
did  not  bear  it  well,  and  grumbled  at  it.  She  did  the  same 
to  Sinfjotli,  and  he  did  not  wince;  she  tore  the  kirtle  off  him 
so  that  his  skin  followed  the  sleeves  ; J  she  said  he  must  feel 
pain.  He  answered,  '  Little  will  a  Volsung  feel  this  pain.1 
Then  he  came  to  Sigmund,  who  asked  him  to  knead  their 
meal  while  he  fetched  firewood.  He  handed  him  a  bag,  and 
then  went  after  wood.  When  he  returned,  Sinfjotli  had  baked 
the  bread.  Sigmund  asked  if  he  had  found  anything  in  the 
meal.  He  replied,  '  I  fancy  there  was  something  alive  in  the 
meal  when  I  began  to  knead  it,  but  I  have  kneaded  it  also 
herein.'  Sigmund  said,  laughing  :  '  I  guess  thou  wilt  not  eat 
this  bread  to-night,  for  thou  hast  kneaded  in  it  the  most 
poisonous  worm.'  Sigmund  was  so  strong  that  he  could  eat 
poison  without  being  hurt ;  and  Sinfjotli  could  stand  poison 
externally,2  but  was  unable  to  eat  or  drink  it " 3  (Volsunga 
Saga,  c.  7). 

"  King  Hring,  of  Uppdalir,  in  Norway,  had  a  son,  Bjorn 
(bear),  and  when  his  wife  died  he  married  a  woman  from 
Finnmork.  She  changed  her  stepson  into  a  bear  in  this  way. 
She  struck  him  with  a  wolfskin  glove,  and  said  that  he  should 
become  a  fierce  and  cruel  lair-bear,  '  and  use  no  other  food  than 

1  Meaning  that  the  skin  was  torn. 

2  Meaning    that    the    skin    could    be 
touched  with  it. 

3  There    were    two     kinds    of    poison 
used.     Cf.  also  Volsunga,  c.  5. 


the  cattle  of  thy  father ;  thou  shalt  kill  it  for  thy  food,  so 
much  of  it  that  it  will  be  unexampled,  and  never  shalt  thou 
get  out  of  this  spell,  and  this  revenge  shall  harm  thee.' 

"Thereafter  Hjorn. disappeared,  and  no  one  knew  what  had 
become  of  him.  When  he  was  missed  he  was  searched  for, 
and  nowhere  found,  as  was  likely.  Then  it  is  told  that  the 
king's  cattle  were  killed  in  large  numbers,  as  a  big  and  fierce 
grey  bear  began  to  attack  them.  One  evening  the  bondi's 
daughter  (Bjorn's  sweetheart)  happened  to  see  this  fierce  bear, 
which  came  to  her  and  fondled  her  much.  She  thought  she 
recognized  in  this  bear  the  eyes  of  Bjorn,  Hring's  son,  and  did 
not  shun  him  much.  The  bear  walked  away,  and  she  followed 
until  it  came  to  a  cave.  When  she  came  there  a  man 
greeted  Bera,1  the  bondi's  daughter.  She  recognized  Bjorn, 
and  they  were  very  glad  to  see  each  other.  They  stayed  in 
the  cave  for  a  while,  for  she  would  not  part  before  she  need. 
He  said  it  was  unfit  for  her  to  stay  there  with  him,  as  he  was  a 
beast  by  day  and  a  man  by  night.  King  Hring  came  home 
from  his  warfare,  and  was  told  what  had  occurred  while  he  was 
away,  that  his  son  Bjorn  had  disappeared,  and  a  large  beast 
had  come  into  the  country  and  attacked  his  own  cattle  mostly. 
The  queen  urged  much  to  have  the  beast  slain,  but  it  was 
delayed  a  while ;  the  king  disliked  this,  and  thought  it  strange. 
One  night,  when  Bera  and  Bjorn  were  in  their  bed,  Bjorn  said, 
*  I  expect  that  to-morrow  is  my  death-day,  and  that  I  shall  be 
hunted  up,  and  I  take  no  pleasure  in  life  because  of  the  ill 
fate  that  lies  on  me,  though  I  have  one  enjoyment,  namely, 
that  we  are  two,  which  will  now  be  changed.  I  will  give  thee 
the  ring  which  is  under  my  left  arm ;  to-morrow  thou  wilt  see 
men  who  attack  me,  and  when  I  am  dead  go  to  the  king  and 
ask  him  to  give  thee  what  is  under  the  left  shoulder  of  the 
bear,  which  he  will  grant.  The  queen  will  suspect  thee  when 
thou  goest  away,  and  give  thee  the  flesh  of  the  animal  to  eat, 
but  thou  shouiclst  not  eat  it,  for  thou  art  pregnant,  as  thou 
knowest,  and  wilt  bear  three  boys,  who  are  ours,  and  on  them 
will  it  be  seen  if  thou  eatest  of  the  bear's  flesh,  and  this  queen 
is  the  greatest  witch.  Then  go  home  to  thy  father,  and 
there  bring  up  the  boys ;  one  of  them  will  seem  the  worst  to 
thee,  and,  if  thou  art  not  able  to  have  them  at  home  for  the 
sake  of  their  overbearing  and  unruliness,  then  take  them  away 
with  thee  to  this  cave.  Thou  wilt  find  here  a  chest  with  three 
compartments ;  the  runes  by  its  side  will  tell  what  is  to  belong 
to  each  of  them ;  three  weapons  are  in  the  rock,  and  each  of 
them  shall  have  the  one  intended  for  him.  The  first-born  of 

1  The  woman's  name  means  she-bear. 


our  sons  shall  be  called  Thorir,  the  second  Elgfrodi,  the  third 
Bodvar,  and  I  think  it  probable  that  they  will  not  be  little  men, 
and  their  names  will  long  be  remembered.'  He  foretold  her 
many  things,  and  then  the  bear's  skin  fell  over  him.  The 
bear  went  out,  and  she  after  him,  and  looked  round.  She  saw 
many  men  coming  past  the  spur  of  the  mountain,  with  many 
large  dogs  in  front.  The  bear  ran  out  of  the  cave  and  along 
the  mountain;  the  dogs  and  the  king's  men  came  against  it, 
and  it  was  difficult  to  hunt  it ;  it  maimed  many  men  before  it 
was  slain,  and  killed  all  the  dogs.  At  last  they  made  a  circle 
round  it,  and  it  ran  in  the  circle,  and  saw  that  it  could  not 
escape ;  it  turned  to  the  king's  side,  caught  the  man  next  to 
him,  and  tore  him  asunder  alive  ;  then  it  was  so  exhausted 
that  it  threw  itself  down  on  the  ground ;  they  soon  rushed  at 
it  and  slew  it.  The  bondi's  daughter  saw  this,  went  to  the 
king,  and  said :  '  Will  you,  lord,  give  me  what  is  under  the  left 
shoulder  of  the  bear  ?  '  The  king  consented,  as  it  could  only 
be  a  thing  well  fit  to  be  given  to  her.  The  king's  men  had 
then  flayed  off  much  of  the  skin  of  the  bear  ;  she  went  and 
took  the  ring,  and  kept  it,  but  they  saw  not  what  she  took, 
and  did  not  search ;  the  king  asked  who  she  was,  as  he  did 
not  know  her;  she  gave  him  a  wrong  name"1  (Hrolf  Kraki, 
cc.  25,  26). 

Some  women  could  shape  themselves  into  a  Mara  or  Kvel- 
•drida  (evening-rider,  or  nightmare),  in  which  shape  they 
could  hurt  or  kill  people  in  their  sleep.  In  the  Eidsifja 
Kristinrett  we  find  that  there  was  a  punishment  for  women 
who  had  this  power. 

"  Geirrid  and  Gunnlaug  conversed  during  the  greater 
part  of  the  day,  and  late  in  the  evening  she  said  to  him :  '  I 
should  like  thee  not  to  go  home  to-night,  for  many  are  the  sea- 
sliders  (those  who  slide  over  the  sea — witches,  spirits,  etc.), 
and  there  are  often  witches  beneath  a  fair  skin,  and  thou  dost 
not  look  very  lucky  in  my  eyes  now.'  Be  answered:  '  I  shall 
not  be  hurt,  as  we  are  two  together.'  She  said  :  '  Odd  will  be 
of  no  use  to  thee,  and  thy  self-will  is  worse  for  thyself.'  Then 
Gunnlaug  and  Odd  left,  and  went  to  Holt.  Katla  was  already 
in  her  bed,  and  asked  Odd  to  invite  Gunnlaug  to  stay  ;  he 
said  he  had  done  so,  but  he  wanted  to  go  home.  '  Then  let  him 
go,  and  meet  what  he  deserves,'  she  answered.  Gunnlaug  did  not 
come  home  in  the  evening,  and  they  talked  about  searching 

1  In  ch.  27  we  are  told  that  Bera  ate 

bear's  flesh,  and  bore  three  sons 

»ne  bit  and  a  little  of  another  bit  of  the 

VOL.  I.  2    F 



for  him,  but  did  not.  In  the  night,  when  Thorbjorn  looked 
out,  he  found  his  son  GTunnlaug  at  the  door  ;  he  was  lying 
there,  and  was  mad.  He  was  carried  in  and  his  clothes  pulled 
off.  He  was  bruised  and  bloody  all  over  his  shoulders,  and 
his  flesh  torn  off  the  bones.  He  lay  all  the  winter  in 
wounds,  and  his  sickness  was  much  talked  of.  Odd  Kotluson 
said  that  Geirrid  had  ridden  on  him,  as  they  had  parted 
abruptly  that  night ;  and  most  people  thought  it  to  be  so.  The 
next  spring,  during  the  citation  days,  Thorbjorn  rode  to 
Mafahlid  and  summoned  Geirrid,  charging  her  with  being 
an  evening-rider  and  causing  the  sickness  of  Gunnlaug.  The 
case  came  to  the  Thorsnesthing,  and  Snorri  godi  helped  his 
brother-in-law,  Thorbjorn,  while  Arnkel  godi  defended  the  case 
for  his  sister,  Geirrid.  The  verdict  of  twelve  (tylftarTcvid)1  had 
to  decide ;  but  neither  Snorri  nor  Arnkel  were  allowed  to 
deliver  the  verdict,  on  account  of  their  relation  to  prosecutor 
and  defendant.  Then  Helgi  Hotgardagodi,  the  father  of  Bjorn, 
whose  son  Gest  was  the  father  of  Skald-Kef,  was  called  upon 
to  deliver  the  verdict  of  the  twelve.  Arnkel  godi  went  to 
the  Court  and  took  an  oath  at  the  altar-ring  that  Geirrid 
had  not  caused  the  sickness  of  Gunnlaug.  Thorarin  (a  son 
of  Geirrid)  and  ten  others  took  oath  with  him,  and  then 
Helgi  gave  verdict  for  her  (Geirrid),  and  the  suit  of  Snorri 
and  Thorbjorn  was  made  void,  and  this  brought  dishonour  on 
them  "  (Eyrbyggja,  c,  16). 

It  was  believed  that  some  people  understood  the  language 
of  birds.2 

"  Dag,  the  son  of  King  Dyggvi,  took  the  kingship  after 
him ;  he  was  so  wise  that  he  could  understand  the  talk  of 
birds.  He  had  a  sparrow  which  told  him  many  tidings ;  it 
flew  into  various  lands.  The  sparrow  once  flew  into  Reidgota- 
land,  to  a  farm  called  Vorvi ;  it  went  on  the  field  of  the  owner 
and  took  food.  The  owner  came  there,  took  up  a  stone,  and 
wounded  the  sparrow  to  death.  King  Dag  became  sorry  when 
the  sparrow  did  not  return  ;  he  then  made  a  sacrifice  to  inquire, 
and  got  the  answer  that  his  sparrow  had  been  killed  at  Vorvi. 
Then  he  levied  a  grent  host  and  went  to  Gotland,  and  made 
warfare  and  plundered.  One  evening  when  he  went  down  to 
his  ships  with  his  host  a  thrall  ran  out  of  a  forest  and  threw  a 
pitchfork  at  them,  which  hit  the  king  and  killed  him.  His 
men  went  back  to  Sweden  "  (Ynglinga  Saga,  ch.  21).3 

1  See  p.  558. 

2  From  some  stone  tracings  and  many 
jewels  we  seethe  proof  of  this.   Numerous 

instances  are  given  in  the  Earlier  Kdda 
of  birds  speaking  to  persons. 
3  Cf.  also  Volsunga.  19. 


"One  summer  when  King  Olaf's  men  had  been  gathering 
land-taxes  he  asked  where  they  were  best  treated.  They 
said  by  an  old  bondi  who  knew  many  things  before  they 
happened,  and  who  had  answered  many  of  their  questions, 
and  they  thought  ho  understood  the  voice  of  birds."  .... 
The  king  took  this  bondi  on  board  his  ship  to  show  the  way 
along  the  coast. 

"  As  they  were  rowing  a  crow  flew7  over  the  ship  with 
loud  shrieks.  The  bondi  looked  at  it.  The  King  said : 
'  Does  it  mean  anything  to  thee  ? '  '  It  does,  lord,'  answered 
he.  Another  crow  flew  over  the  ship,  shrieking.  The  bondi 
forgot  to  row,  and  his  oar  got  loose  in  his  hand.  The  king 
said  :  '  Thou  art  very  attentive  to  the  crow,  or  to  what  it  says, 
bondi.'  He  answered  :  '  I  have  some  misgivings,  lord.'  A 
crow  passed  over  the  ship  a  third  time,  shrieking  louder  than 
the  two  others,  and  flying  nearer  the  ship.  The  bondi  rose 
and  stopped  rowing.  The  king  said  :  '  This  signifies  much  to 
thee,  or  what  does  it  tell  ? '  The  bondi  answered  :  '  That  which 
it  is  unlikely  that  I  or  it  knows.'  The  king  said  :  '  Tell  me.' 
The  bondi  sang  :— 

The  one  winter  old  crow  tells,  Which  I  think  not  likely, 

It  knows  not ;  That  I  row 

The  two  winters  old  one  tells,  On  a  mare's  head, 

I  believe  it  not ;  And  that  thou,  king, 

But  the  three  winters  old  one  tells,          Art  the  thief  of  iny  property. 

(Olaf  the  Quiet's  Saga  (Heimskr.),  c.  10.) 

Not  only  was  it  believed  that  the  form  could  be  changed, 
but  it  was  further  believed  that  by  eating  some  peculiar  kind 
of  food  the  temper  of  men  could  be  changed.  The  meat  and 
blood  of  strong  and  fierce  beasts,  especially  of  wolves,  were 
held  potent  to  make  men  brave  and  fierce,  and  thus  partake 
of  the  nature  of  animals. 

"  Thereafter  Begin  came  to  Sigurd,  and  said :  '  Hail,  my 
lord  ;  a  great  victory  hast  thou  won,  as  thou  hast  slain 
Fafnir,  and  no  one  was  so  bold  before  as  to  dare  to  sit  in  his 
way,  and  this  deed  of  fame  will  be  remembered  while  the 
world  stands.  Regin  stood  looking  on  the  ground  for  a  long 
while,  and  then  suddenly  said,  with  great  anger :  Thou  hast 
slain  my  brother,  and  scarcely  can  I  be  innocent  of  this  deed.' 
Sigurd  took  his  sword  Gram  and  wiped  it  on  the  grass,  and 
said  to  Begin :  '  Thou  wast  far  off  when  I  did  this  deed,  and 
tried  this  sharp  sword  with  my  hand  and  my  strength.  I  had 
to  fight  the  power  of  the  serpent,  when  thou  didst  lay  in  a 

2  F  2 


heather  cluster,  and  didst  not  know  heaven  from  earth '  Regin 
answered  :  '  This  serpent  might  have  lain  long  time  in  his 
lair  if  thou  hadst  not  used  the  sword  which  I  made  for  thee 
with  my  hand,  and  then  thon  hadst  not  done  this  alone.' 
Sigurd  said  :  '  When  men  come  to  fight,  it  is  better  to  have  a 
good  heart  than  a  sharp  sword.'  Then  Regin  said  to  him 
very  sadly :  '  Thou  didst  slay  my  brother,  and  scarcely  can  I 
be  innocent  of  this  deed.' 

"  Then  Sigurd  cut  out  the  serpent's  heart  with  a  sword  called 
Ridil.  Regin  drank  the  blood  of  Fafnir,  and  said :  '  Do  one 
thing  for  me  which  is  easy  to  thee  ;  go  to  a  fire  with  the  heart 
and  roast  it,  and  give  it  me  to  eat.'  Sigurd  went  away  and 
roasted  it  on  a  spit,  and  when  the  blood  came  out  of  it,  he 
touched  it  with  his  finger  to  see  if  it  were  roasted  ;  he  put  his 
finger  in  his  mouth,  and  when  the  serpent's  heart- blood  touched 
his  tongue  he  understood  the  speech  of  birds ;  he  heard  nut- 
hatches (Sitta  Europeea)  chirp  in  the  brushwood  near  him— 
'There  thou  sittest,  Sigurd,  roasting  the  heart  of  Fafnir;  he 
(Sigurd)  should  eat  it  himself,  then  he  would  become  wiser  than 
any  other  man.'  Another  said  :  '  There  lies  Regin,  wishing  to 
betray  the  one  who  trusts  him.'  The  third  one  said  :  '  Let  him 
(Sigurd)  cut  off  his  head,  thon  he  can  rule  alone  over  the  great 
gold.'  The  fourth  one  said  :  '  He  would  be  wiser  if  he  acted 
according  to  our  advice,  and  rode  to  the  lair  of  Fafnir,  and 
took  the  great  gold  which  is  there,  and  then  rode  up  to 
Hindarfjall  (Hind-fell),  where  Brynhild  sleeps,  where  he  will 
learn  great  wisdom ;  he  would  be  wise  if  he  took  your  advice, 
and  thought  of  what  he  ought  to  do  (namely,  to  slay  Regin)  ; 
where  I  see  the  ears  I  expect  the  wolf.'  The  fifth  said  :  '  He 
(Sigurd)  is  not  so  wise  as  I  think  if  he  spares  him  (Regin), 
having  slain  his  brother.'  The  sixth  said  :  '  It  would  be  a 
bold  deed  if  he  slewr  him,  and  ruled  alone  over  the  gold.'  Then 
Sigurd  said :  '  It  is  not  my  fate  that  Regin  is  my  slayer,  but 
both  the  brothers  ought  rather  to  go  the  same  way.'  He  drew 
the  sword  Gram  and  cut  off  Regin's  head.  After  this  he  ate 
part  of  the  serpent's  heart,  and  kept  part  of  it.  Then  he 
jumped  on  his  horse  and  rode  on  Fafnir's  track  to  his  room, 
and  found  it  open ;  all  the  doors  were  of  iron,  and  also  the 
door-fittings,  and  all  the  beams,  and  it  was  dug  into  the 
ground.  Sigurd  found  there  very  much  gold,  and  the  sword 
Hrotti,  and  there  he  took  the  helmet  of  terror,  and  the  golden 
coat-of-mail,  and  many  costly  things.  He  found  there  so 
much  gold  that  he  thought  likely  that  two  or  three  horses 
would  not  carry  more.  He  put  it  all  in  two  chests,  and  took 
the  bridle  of  the  horse  14 rani,  which  would  not  walk,  and  it 
was  no  use  to  whip  it.  He  found  what  the  horse  wished, 


jumped  on  its  back  and  spurred  it,  and  it  ran  as  if  it  had  no 
burden  on  its  back  "  (Volsunga  Saga,  c.  19). 

"When  it  drew  near  to  Yule,  people  became  uncheerful, 
Bodvar  asked  Hott  why  this  was.     He  told  him  a  large   and 
terrible  animal  had  come  there  for  two  winters ;  it  had  wings 
on  its  back,  and  always  flew :  for  two  autumns  it  had  come, 
and  done  much  damage ;  weapons  did  not  wound  it,  and  the 
best  champions  of  the  King  did  not  come  home.    Bodvar  said : 
'  The  hall  is  not  so  well  manned l  as  I  thought,  if  one  creature 
is  to  lay  waste  the  realm  and  property  of  the   king.'    Hott 
replied    that    it    was   not   an   animal,    but   the    worst    fiend. 
On  Yule-eve  the  King  said :  '  I  want  people  to  be  quiet  and 
silent  this  night,  and  I  forbid  all  my  men  to  endanger  them- 
selves   against  the  animal;  with  the  property  let  it  happen 
as  it  may,  but  I  do  not  want  to  lose  my  men.'     Every  man 
promised  to  do  as  he  ordered.     Bodvar  stole  away  in  the  night 
with  Hott,  who  went  unwillingly,  saying  that  he  was  taken 
to  death,    while  Bodvar  said  it  would  not  be  so.      As  they 
left  the  hall,   Bodvar  was  obliged  to  carry  him,  he  was   so 
frightened.     When  they  saw  the  beast,  Hott  shouted  as  loud 
as   he   could,  and    cried    that   it  was   going  to  swallow  him. 
Bodvar  told  the  animal  to  be  silent,  and  flung  him  down  in 
the  moss  ;    there   he  lay,  not  without  fear,  nor  dared  he  go 
home.     Bodvar  now  went  against  the  beast ;  it  happened  that 
his  sword  was  fast  in  the  scabbard ;  at  last  he  got  the  scabbard 
turned,  so  that  the  sword  came  out ;  he  thrust  at  once  under 
its   shoulder   so  strongly  that   he   pierced  the  heart,  and   it 
fell  dead.    Then  he  went  to  where  Hott   lay;  he  took  him, 
and  carried  him  to  the  place  where  the  beast  lay  dead.    Hott 
trembled  violently.     Bodvar  said  :  '  Now  thou  shalt  drink  its 
blood.'    He  was  long  unwilling,  but  dared  not,  however,  dis- 
obey.     Bodvar  made  him  swallow  two  large  mouthfuls,  and 
eat  some  of  the  beast's  heart ;  then  took  hold  of  him,  and 
they  wrestled  a  long  while.     Bodvar  said  :    '  Thou   hast   be- 
come rather  strong,  and  I  do  not  think  thou  art  now  afraid 
of  the   hirdmen  of   King  Hrolf.'     Hott  replied :  '  I  will  not 
be  afraid  of  them  nor  of  thee  hereafter.'     Bodvar  answered : 
'  That  is  good,  my  companion  Hott ;  let  us  go  and  lift  up  the 
beast,  and  arrange  it  so  that  others  will  think  it  alive.'  This 
they  did.     After  this   they  went  home  quietly,  and   no  one 
knew  what  they  had  done  "  (Hrolf  Kraki's  Saga,  c.  35). 2 

There  were  several  different  drinks,  known  under  different 

1  Same  expression  as  of  a  ship. 

2  Cf.    also    about    HrolPs  Champions, 

c.  31.    (Ynglinga,  c.  38.) 


names,  prepared  .in  a  special  manner  and  with  incantations, 
which  were  supposed  to  possess  special  properties.  For  these 
magical  drinks,  which  were  believed  to  have  great  power,  many 
things  were  mixed,  and  runes  were  used,  partly  as  formularies 
over  the  drink,  or  carved  on  trees  or  bones  which  were  thrown 
into  it1 ;  in  the  latter  case  this  was  done  to  excite  love  for  the 
one  in  whose  behalf  the  potion  was  given.  Chief  among  these 
drinks  was  the  drink  of  oblivion  ( Uminnisveig),  a  drink  pre- 
pared to  remove  sorrow  from  the  mind. 

Gudrun  went  from  Denmark  home  to  her  mother  Grimhild 
who  gave  her  the  drink  of  oblivion. 

Grimhild  brought  to  me 

A  cup  to  drink, 

A  cold  and  bitter  one  ; 

I  forgot  my  sorrows ; 

It  was  mixed 

With  the  might  of  the  earth, 

With  ice-cold  sea-water, 

With  sacrificed  blood. 

In  the  horn  were 

All  kinds  of  letters 

( 'arved  and  painted  in  red  ; 

1  could  not  read  them ; 

A  long  ling-fish, 

The  unreaped  corn-ear, 

The  bowels  of  beasts. 

Man}'  evils 

Were  mixed  in  that  beer ; 

The  herbs  of  every  forest, 

Burnt  acorns, 

The  soot  of  the  hearth, 

Sacrificed  bowels, 

A  boiled  swine-liver, 

For  it  soothes  the  sorrows. 

(Volsunga,  c.  32.) 

After  taking  this  drink  of  oblivion  she  forgot  all  her 
sorrows,  and  married  King  Atli,  who  afterwards  murdered  her 
brother  at  a  feast  where  they  were  invited  by  him.  Gudrun 
revenged  herself  by  killing  the  children  she  had  by  Atli,  and 
then  had  him  murdered. 

1  By  magical  drink,  poisonous  drink  is 
often  memit  (Heimskr   Harald    Fairhair, 

41).     See  Gudriinarkvida  ii.,  stanzas  21, 
22,  23,  24. 



T\vo  kinds  of  witchcraft— Use  of  runes  with  incantations — Power  of  witch- 
craft— Ceremonies  attending  it — The  Finns  great  masters  in  the  art- 
Magical    characters    on    weapons  —  Witchcraft  —  Knowing    women - 
liaising  dead  people — Power  of   the    eye  to   blunt   weapons — Charmed 
swords  —  The    life-stone — Charmed    garments  —  Ocular     delusions  — 
Appearance   of  ghosts   at  feasts    considered    lucky — Protection    against 
ghosts — Punishment  of  witchcraft  in  later  times. 

THE  worshippers  of  the  Asa  creed  were  strong  believers  in 
witchcraft ;  it  is  most  difficult  for  us  now  to  comprehend  such 
superstition,  but  we  need  not  go  back  to  that  remote  period 
to  find  the  same  diseased  state  of  mind  in  Europe  and 

Two  kinds  of  witchcraft,  Galdr  and  Seid,  were  practised. 
Galdr,  derived  from  gala,  to  sing,  was  a  form  of  sorcery ;  Odin 
was  called  the  father  of  galdr,  and  those  who  practised  it 
were  called  galdrasmid,  or  galdr-smiths,  and  sometimes  galdra- 
meu,  who,  while  singing  their  formularies,  used  at  times  to 
mark  certain  mystic  runes1  which  were  used  with  the  incanta- 
tion ;  and  it  appears  that  caution  in  the  use  of  these  runes 
was  necessary,  as  their  use  by  an  impostor  was  held  to  cause 
danger.2  It  was  supposed  that  such  gald  were  able  to  cure 
wounds  and  sickness,  allay  fire  and  storm,  rouse  up  the  dead 
in  order  to  consult  them  as  to  the  future,  and  win  the  love  of 

"He  (Odin)  taught  with  runes  and  with  songs  called 
galdrar;  therefore  the  Asar  are  called  galdra-smiths.  Odin 
knew  and  himself  practised  the  greatest  of  idrottir,  which 
is  called  seid  :  by  it  he  could  tell  the  destiny  of  men  and 

1  Egil's  Saga.  44.  |        -  Egil's  Saga,  75.     See  p.  165. 


future  things,  and  cause  death  or  bad  luck,  or  illness,  and  take 
away  men's  wit  or  strength,  and  give  them  to  others.  He 
taught  most  of  his  idrottir  to  the  sacrificing  priests  ;  they  were 
next  to  him  in  all  wisdom  and  witchcraft.  Many  others,  how- 
ever, learned  a  great  deal  of  them,  and  from  them  witchcraft 
has  spread  widely  and  been  kept  up  long"  (Ynglinga  Saga, 
c.  7). 

The  seid,  which  had  been  learnt  by  the  Asar  from  the  Vanir. 
like  the  galdr,  was  performed  with  songs  and  incantations,  and 
generally  at  night.  It  was  used  mostly  for  evil  purposes,  and 
its  knowledge  was  not  held  as  noble  as  that  of  galdr.  It  had 
been  taught  by  Freyja,  and  was  chiefly  performed  by  women. 

Among  the  ceremonies  attending  seid  was  that  of  cooking 
strange  dishes,  the  objects  composing  which  were  kept  secret 
by  the  seid  persons. 

"  Kotkel  had  a  large  seid-platform  made  ;  they  all  went  up 
on  it  and  sung  there  their  wisdom,  namely,  galdr  "  (Laxdaela, 
c.  35). 

"Kotkel  and  Grima  and  their  sons  left  their  home  during- 
the  night ;  they  went  to  the  farm  of  Hrut  and  there  made  a 
great  seid.  When  the  seid-sounds  were  heard,  those  inside 
could  not  understand  what  it  was,  but  the  song  was  fine  to 
listen  to.  Hrut  alone  knew  these  sounds,  and  said  that  no 
man  must  look  out  that  night,  and  that  every  one  who  was 
able  must  be  awake,  and  they  would  not  be  harmed  if  they 
did  this.  Nevertheless  all  fell  asleep.  Hrut  was  awake  the 
longest  time,  but  nevertheless  fell  asleep.  Kari,  his  son,  was 
then  twelve  winters  old  and  the  most  promising  of  his  sons, 
and  much  loved  by  him  ;  he  could  scarcely  get  any  sleep,  for 
all  this  was  intended  against  him  ;  he  did  not  get  much  rest. 
He  jumped  up,  looked  out,  and  walked  on  the  seid  place,  and 
fell  down  dead  at  once  "  (Laxdrela,  c.  37). 

The  Finns  were  looked  upon  as  great  masters  in  witchcraft, 
and  their  advice  was  in  much  favour ;  they  were  considered 
especially  clever  in  going  on  journeys  in  another  shape. 

"  Vanlaridi,  the  son  of  Svegdir,  succeeded  him  and  ruled  the 
realm  of  Upsala ;  he  was  a  great  warrior,  and  travelled  far  and 
wide.  He  lived  one  winter  in  Finnland  with  Snjar  the  old, 
and  married  his  daughter  Drifa.  In  the  spring  he  went  away, 
and  Drifa  remained ;  he  promised  to  come  back  in  three  win- 
ters, but  for  ten  winters  he  did  not  come.  Then  Drifa  sent  for 


the  seid-woman,  Huld,  and  sent  Visbur,  their  son,  to  Sweden. 
Drifa  made  a  bargain  with  the  seid-woman,  Huld,  that  she 
should  get  Vanlandi  by  seid  to  Finnland,  or  slay  him.  When 
the  seid  was  performed  Vanlandi  was  at  Uppsalir ;  thereupon 
he  wished  to  go  to  Finnland,  but  his  friends  and  advisers  pre- 
vented him  from  going,  and  said  that  his  wish  was  owing  to 
the  witchcraft  of  the  Finns  "  (Ynglinga,  c.  16). 

Mai  was  a  name  given  to  magical  characters,  runes,  &c., 
which  were  inlaid  upon  weapons,  and  which  were  believed  to 
enable  their  owners  to  hold  others  spell-bound. 

"  Thorgrim  Nef  dwelt  at  Nefstadir,  near  the  Haukadal 
river.  He  was  versed  in  witchcraft  and  magic,  and  a  very 
great  wizard.  Thorgrim  and  Thorkel  invited  Thorgrim  Nef  to 
their  home,  for  they  had  a  feast.  Thorgrim  was  skilled  in  iron 
work.  The  three  went  together  to  the  smithy,  and  thereupon 
shut  the  door.  The  pieces  of  the  sword  Grasida  (grey-side), 
which  Thorkel  got  at  the  division  of  property  between  himself 
and  his  brother,  were  taken,  and  from  these  Thorgrim  made  a 
spear,  which  was  finished  at  night.  Ornaments  (mal)  were 
inlaid  on  it "  (Gisli  Sursson's  Saga). 

Witchcraft-knowing  women  were  accustomed  to  rub  with 
their  hands  the  whole  body  of  the  man  who  was  to  go  to  war 
or  fight ;  by  this  means  they  found  the  most  vulnerable  part 
of  the  body,  for  they  believed  that  on  this  place  they  could 
find  a  knot  which  was  supposed  to  be  the  spot  that  was  to  be 
wounded,  and  if  they  found  such  a  knot  they  had  a  special 
protection  made  for  it. 

"  Helga's  foster-mother  used  to  touch  men  (with  her  hands) 
before  they  went  into  a  fight;  she  did  this  with  Ogmund 
before  he  left,  and  said  she  did  not  find  a  vulnerable  spot " 
(Kormak  i.). 

"  It  is  told  that  Hroi  gathered  men  and  got  30  before  he 
left ;  his  foster-mother  wanted  to  touch  his  body  with  her 
hands  before  he  went  from  home,  and  thought  she  knew  then 
best  how  he  would  succeed.  She  found  a  vulnerable  point 
on  his  foot,  but  in  other  places  she  was  satisfied  "  (Veniunds 
Saga,  c.  5). 

The  champion  Thormod  came  very  often  to  talk  with  the 
widow's  daughter  against  Grima's  will.  Then  she  sent  a  man, 
Kolbak,  to  lie  in  ambush  for  Thormod  one  evening. 


"  She  (Grima)  touched  him  all  over  with  her  hands.  Then 
Kolbak  went  his  way.  .  .  .  Thorrnod  walked  in  front  of  the 
sheep-house  door,  and  at  that  moment  a  man  with  a  drawn  sax 
ran  out  of  it  and  struck  at  Thormod.  The  blow  hit  Thormod's 
arm  above  the  elbow  and  the  wound  was  large.  Thormod 
threw  his  shield  down  and  drew  his  sword  with  his  left  hand 
and  struck  at  Kolbak  with  both  arms,  the  one  blow  after  the 
other.  The  sword  did  not  bite,  for  Kolbak  was  so  strengthened 
with  witchcraft  that  iron  did  not  bite  him.  Kolbak  did  not 
strike  any  more  blows  at  Thormo;!,  but  said:  'Now  I  can  do 
with  thee,  Thormod,  what  I  like,  but  i  will  not  do  more.' 
Kolbak  went  home  and  told  Grima  the  news "  (Fostbrredra 
Saga,  c.  14). 

Among  the  numerous  kinds  of  witchcraft  practised  was  that 
of  a  man  sitting  out  of  doors  at  night  in  the  open  air,  and,  by 
some  magical  action  not  'described,  raising  troll  (wizard  or 
witch)  or  dead  people,  in  order  to  ask  them  questions  as  to  the 

Hakon  and  Ingi  were  pretenders  to  the  crown  of  Norway, 
and  were  going  to  fight  a  battle. 

"  It  is  told  that  Gunnhild,  to  whom  Simon  had  been  married, 
and  who  was  the  foster-mother  of  King  Hakou,  had  out-sitting 
for  the  victory  of  Hakon.  The  result  was  that  they  should 
light  against  Ingi  at  night,  but  never  by  day,  and  then  it  would 
go  well.  The  woman  who  was  said  to  have  sat  out  is  called 
Thordis  Seggia,  but  I  do  not  know  it  for  true  "  (Hakon  Herdi- 
breid's  Saga,  c.  16). 

Some  people  were  supposed  to  have  power  in  their  eyes,  by 
which  they  could  blunt  swords  in  the  fight. 

"  Gunnlaug  Ormstunga  challenged  the  viking  Thororm  to  a 
holmganga,  because  he  would  not  pay  back  money  which  he 
had  borrowed  from  Gunnlaug.  Gunnlaug  was  then  at  the  hird 
of  King  Adalrad  in  London,  who  told"  him  that  this  man 
blunted  every  weapon,  and  gave  him  a  sword  to  fight  with  and 
told  him  to  sho\v  only  his  own  sword  to  the  viking  (Gunnlaug 
Ormstunga's  Saga). 

"  She  (Thordis  the  witch)  blunted  Kormak's  sword  so  that  it 
could  not  bite  "  (Kormak's  Saga,  c.  23). 

Men  who  carried  charmed  weapons  were  always  held  to  be 

1  Cf.  Ynglinga,  c.  7. 


lucky  in  fight.  When  using  such  charmed  swords,  good  care 
had  to  be  taken  that  the  charm  should  be  effective,  or  part 
of  the  power  was  lost :  for  instance,  the  famous  sword  Skofnimg 
-taken  from  the  mound  of  Hrolf  Kraki — was  not  to  be  drawn 
in  the  sight  of  people,  nor  must  the  sun  shine  on  the  hilt,1 
and  the  wounds  inflicted  by  these  could  not  be  cured  except 
by  touching  them  by  the  so-called  lifstein  (life-stone)  which 
was  attached  to  the  sword.  The  wounds  of  the  sword  Skof- 
iiung  could  only  be  healed  by  the  stone  set  in  its  hilt. 

"  Bersi  had  a  sharp  sword,  Hviting,  with  a  lifstein  attached 
to  it,  which  he  had  carried  in  many  dangers"  (Kormak's  Saga, 
c.  9.) 

Bersi,  on  account  of  his  many  duels,  was  called  Holmganga 

"•  Kormak  said  to  him  :  '  I  challenge  thee,  Bersi,  to  hoiin- 
gauga  (a  duel)  at  the  end  of  half  a  month  on  Leidholm."  .... 

"  Bersi  had  a  sharp  sword  called  Hviting,  with  a  lifstein 
attached  to  it,  which  he  had  carried  in  many  dangers. 

"  Dalla  (mother  of  Kormak)  advised  him  to  find  Midfjord 
Skeggi  and  ask  for  Skofnung  (Holf  Kraki's  sword).  Kormak 
went  to  Reykjar  (Skeggisbu)  and  told  him  his  case.  Skeggi 
answered  that  he  was  unwilling  to  lend  him  the  sword,  lor 
they  '  Skofnung  and  Kormak '  were  unlike  in  temper. 
'  Skofnung  is  slow,  but  thou  art  impatient  and  headstrong.' 
Kormak  rode  away  ill  pleased,  returned  to  Mel,  and  told 
his  mother  that  Skeggi  would  not  lend  him  the  sword. 
Skeggi  used  to  give  I)alla  advices;  and  there  was  friendship 
between  them.  Dalla  said  :  '  He  will  lend  thee  the  sword, 
though  he  will  not  yield  readily  (at  once).'  Kormak  did  not 
think  it  was  fair  if  he  withheld  not  the  sword  from  her,  but  did 
from  him.  ...  A  few  days  later  she  told  Kormak  to  go  to 
Eeykjar,  as  Skeggi  would  now  lend  him  the  sword  ;  Kormak 
found  him  and  asked  for  Skofnung.  '  The  management  of  it 
may  seem  difficult  to  thee,' said  Skeggi;  'a  bag  (covering) 
follows  it  (goes  with  it)  and  thou  shall  leave  it  quiet ;  the  sun 
must  not  shine  on  the  upper  guard,  nor  shall  thou  draw  it 
except  thou  preparest  for  fight ;  but,  if  thou  comest  to  the 
fighting-place,  sit  alone,  and  there  draw  it.  Hold  up  the  blade 
and  blow  on  it ;  then  a  small  snake  will  creep  from  under  the 
guard  ;  incline  the  blade,  and  make  it  easy  for  it  (the  snake) 

2  Cfr.  Laxdc-ela,  57,  58 .   Xjala,  30. 


to  creep  back  under  the  guard.'  Kormak  said  :  '  Many  things 
do  you  the  wizards  use  ?  '  Skeggi  replied  :  '  This,  however, 
will  help  thee  fully.'  After  this,  Korinak  rode  home  and  told 
his  mother  what  had  happened  ;  and  said  that  her  will  had 
much  power  over  Skeggi ;  showed  her  the  sword,  and  tried  to 
draw  it :  but  it  would  nqt  leave  the  scabbard.  Dolla  said  : 
'  Too  self- willed  art  thou,  kinsman.'  Kormak  put  his  feet  on 
the  guard,  and  tore  off  the  bag  ;  Skofnung  howled  at  this,  but 
could  not  be  drawn  from  the  scabbard. 

"  The  time  for  the  holmgang  approached,  and  Kormak  left 
home  with  fifteen  men.  In  the  same  manner  Bersi  rode  to  the 
place  with  as  many  men.  •  Kormak  came  first,  and  said  to 
Thorgils  that  he  wanted  to  sit  there  alone.  Kormak  sat 
down  and  unfastened  the  sword,  and  did  not  take  care  that  the 
sun  did  not  shine  on  its  guard  ;  he  had  girt  himself  with 
it  outside  his  clothes,  and  tried  to  draw  it ;  but  did  not  get  it 
out  until  he  stepped  on  the  guard ;  the  small  snake  came,  but 
it  was  not  handled  as  he  should  have  been,  and  the  luck  of  the 
sword  was  changed,  and  it  went  howling  out  of  the  scabbard ' 
(Kormak's  Saga,  c.  9). 

There  were  also  garments  which  were  supposed  to  be  im- 

When  about  to  leave  the  house  of  his  parents,  Hrolf  went 
to  his  mother  Asa  and  said  : 

"  I  want  thee,  mother,  to  show  me  the  cloaks  which  Vefreyja, 
thy  foster-mother,  made  for  my  father  a  long  time  ago.'  She 
opened  a  large  chest  and  answered:  '  Here  thou  canst  see  them, 
and  they  have  decayed  but  little  as  yet.'  Hrolf  took  them  up  ; 
they  were  with  sleeves,  a  hood  at  the  top,  and  a  covering  for 
the  face ;  they  were  wide  and  long  ;  no  iron  could  cut  them, 
and  poison  could  not  damage  them.  Hrolf  took  two  which 
were  the  largest,  and  said :  *  1  do  not  carry  away  too  much 
from  the  house  of  my  father,  though  I  take  the  cloaks ' 
(Gongu  Hrolf  s  Saga,  c.  4). 

Among  the  kinds  of  witchcraft  mentioned  in  the  sagas  is 
one  called  sjonhverfingar  (ocular  delusion). 

"  At  Froda  there  was  a  large  hall  and  a  locked  bed  adjoined 
it,  as  then  was  customary.  On  each  side  of  the  hall  was  a  small 
room  ;  one  of  them  was  filled  with  dried  fish  and  the  other  with 
flour.  Meal  fires  were  made  every  night  in  the  hall  as  was  the 
custom.  People  used  to  sit  long  at  the  fires  before  they  went 
to  their  meal.  When  the  gravediggers  came  home  that  night. 


and  men  were  sitting  at  the  fires  at  Frocla,  they  saw  a  halt' 
moon  appearing  on  the  wall  of  the  room.  All  those  who  were 
inside  could  see  it.  It  moved  backwards  against  the  course  of 
the  sun  through  the  room.  It  did  not  vanish  while  they  sat  at 
the  fire.  Thorod  asked  Thorir  Wood-leg  what  this  foreboded. 
Thorir  answered  it  was  the  Urdarmani  (moon  of  Urd).  Deaths 
of  men  will  follow  upon  this.  This  continued  all  the  week  ; 
the  urdarmani  entered  every  night "  (Eyrbyggja,  c.  52).1 

"Late  in  the  summer  Hord  went  to  Saurboer  with  twenty- 
three  men,  for  ftThorstein  Oxnabrodd  (ox -staff)  had  boasted 
that  his  witchcraft-knowing  toster-mother  Skroppa  could  with 
her  sorcery  effect  that  the  Holmverjar  (men  ot  Holm,  the 
island)  were  not  able  to  harm  him.  They  came  to  the  beer ; 
Skroppa  and  the  daughters  of  the  bondi  Helga  and  Sigrid  were 
at  home,  but  Thorsteiu  was  at  his  sreter  at  Kuvallardal,  in 
Svinadal.  Skroppa  opened  all  the  rooms  ;  she  made  sjonhver- 
fingar,  so  that  the  three  (women)  sitting  on  the  cross-bench 
seemed  to  them  three  boxes  standing  there.  The  men  of  Hord 
talked  about  wanting  to  break  these  boxes.  Hord  forbade 
that.  They  then  left  the  farm  and  turned  northward  to  see  if 
they  could  find  any  cattle.  They  saw  a  young  sow  running  with 
two  pigs  in  that  direction  ;  they  got  ahead  of  it.  Then  it  seemed 
to  them  that  a  large  crowd  of  men  was  coming:  against  them 
with  spears  and  fully  armed,  and  the  sow  with  its  pigs  shook 
their  ears.  Geir  (Hord's  foster-brother)  said  :  '  Let  us  go  to 
our  boat ;  there  will  be  odds  against  us.'  Hord  said  it  was 
best  not  to  run  away  so  soon  without  any  trial.  At  the  same 
time  he  lifted  up  a  large  stone  and  struck  the  sow  to  death. 
When  they  came  to  it  they  saw  Skroppa  lying  dead  there, 
while  the  bondi's  daughters,  whom  they  had  taken  for  pigs, 
stood  at  her  side.  When  she  was  dead  they  at  once  saw  that 
the  crowd  which  came  against  them  was  oxen  and  not  men ; 
they  drove  the  cattle  down  to  the  boat,  killed  them,  and  loaded 
their  boat  with  the  meat.  Geir  took  Sigrid  away  against  her 
will,  and  they  went  out  to  the  Holm  (Hord's  Saga,  25).2 

When  drowned  men  came  to  their  own  arvel,  or  burial  feast, 
as  ghosts,  it  was  looked  upon  as  a  good  sign  for  the  survivors 
of  the  family,  for  then  the  dead  men  had  been  well  received  by 

The  people  were  strong  believers  in  ghosts,  and  thought  that 
the  spirit  of  the  dead  could  come  into  the  mound  where  the 

1  Cf.  Lamlnama,  pt.  iii. 

2  Cf.    also    Eyrbyggja,     c.     20 ;     and 

Fcereyinga,  c.  40. 


body  was  buried.  When  they  were  seen  at  night  at  their 
mounds  they  were  surrounded  by  fire,  and  it  was  said  that 
the  gate  of  Hel,  where  the  dead  were  supposed  to  be,  was  open. 
These  ghosts  of  the  dead  were  harmless. 

The  bondmaid  of  Sigrun,  when  walking  one  evening  past  the 
mound  of  Helgi,  saw  that    he  rode  to  it  with  many  men ;  she 


Is  it  an  illusion  You  prick  yqnr  horses 

Which  I  think  I  see,  With  spur  points, 

Or  the  doom  of  the  gods? l  Or -have  the  Hildings  2 

Dead  men  ride  ;  Got  leave  to  go  home  ? 3 

Helgi  sang  : 

It  is  not  an  illusion  Though  we  our  horses 

Which  thou  thinkest  thou  seest,  Prick  with  spurs, 

Nor  the  doom  of  the  world,  But  the  Hildings  have  got 

Though  thou  seest  us,  Leave  to  go  home. 

The  bondmaid  went  home  and  told  Sigrun. 

Go  out,  thou  Sigrun  Helgi  has  come ; 

From  Sefafjoll,  The  prints  of  the  sword  bleed 

If  thou  wan  test  to  The  Dogling  5  asked  thee 

Meet  with  the  leader  of  men.4  That   thou   the  wound-dripping 

The  mound  has  opened ;  Shouldst  stop.                   [(blood) 

Sigrun  went  into  the  mound  to  Helgi,  and  sang : 

Now  I  am  as  glad  The  bloody  brynja  ; 

Of  our  meeting  Thy  hair,  Helgi, 

As  the  greedy  Is  covered  with  hoar-frost ; 

Hawks  of  Odin  6  The  king  is  all  wet 

When  they  know  of  slain  men  With  the  dew  of  the  slain. 

A  warm  prey,  The  hands  of  Hogni's  son-in-law 

Or  dew-besprinkled,  Are  cold  from  wet, 

See  the  dawn  of  day.  How  shall  I,  king, 

I  will  kiss  Better  this  for  thee  ? 

The  dead  king  *           *           *           * 

Ere  thou  throwest  off 

Helgi  and  his  men   rode  their  way,  and  the  maidens  went 

home  to  their  house.     The  next  evening  Sigrun  let  a  bond- 

1  Ragnarok. 
2  Chiefs. 
3  From  Odin. 

4   Helgi. 
5  Helgi. 
6  Hawks  as  birds  of  prey. 



maid  keep  watch  at  the  mound  ;  and  at  sunset,  when  Sigrim 
came  to  the  mound,  the  bondmaid  sang : 

Now  would  have  come, 

If  to  come  he  intended, 

The  son  of  Sigmund l 

From  Odin's  halls ; 

I  say  that  the  hope 

Of  the  king's  coming  lessens, 

As  on  ashtree  boughs 2 

Eagles  sit, 

And  all  men  throng 

To  the  meeting  of  dreams.3 
Be  not  so  mad 
As  to  go  alone, 
Sister4  of  Skjoldungs, 
To  the  houses  of  the  ghosts. 
Stronger,  maiden,  becomeatniglit 
All  dead  fiends,5 
Than  in  the  light  of  day. 
(Helgikvida  Hundingsbani,  ii.) 

There  were  ghosts  who  were  supposed  to  kill  people  ;  the 
best  means  of  protection  against  them  was  to  burn  the  body 
and  throw  the  ashes  into  the  sea,  or  to  cut  off  the  head  and 
put  it  at  or  between  the  feet,  as  the  body  had  then  to  walk  on 
its  own  head.  Another  way  of  getting  rid  of  them  was  to 
pursue  them  by  law,  and  sentence  them  at  the  door  of  the 
house  they  haunted.6 

An  had  slain  an  outlaw,  Garan,  in  a  wood. 

"  An  left  him  dead ;  he  cut  off  his  head,  dragged  him  out 
(of  his  house),  and  put  his  nose  between  his  legs,  that  he 
should  not  appear  after  his  death  ':  (An's  Bogsveigis  vSaga, 
c.  5). 

"  The  overbearing  of  Klaufi  became  so  great  that  he  maimed 
both  men  and  cattle.  Karl  thought  it  a  great  evil  that  his- 
kinsman  should  be  a  ghost.  He  went  to  his  mound  and  had 
him  dug  up.  He  was  then  still  undecayed.  He  had  a  large 
fire  made  on  the  rock  above  the  house  of  Klaufabrekka,  and 
burned  him  to  ashes.  He  had  a  case  of  lead  made,  and  put 
the  ashes  in  it.  Two  bars  of  iron  were  on  it,  and  he  sunk  it 
into  the  hot  spring  south  of  Klaufabrekka.  The  stone  on 
which  Klaufi  was  burnt  was  rent  in  two  parts,  and  Klaufi 
never  did  harm  after  this  "  7  (Svarfda?la,  30). 

"  At  this  time  Thorodd  Thorbrandsson  lived  in  Alptafjord. 
He  owned  both  Ulfarsfell  and  Orlygsstadir,  but  then  the 
haunting  of  Thorolf  Bosgifot  became  so  strong  that  people 

i   Helgi. 

-  We  see  it  is  so  late  that  the  eagles 
sit  on  the  houghs  for  the  night,  &c.  So 
they  despair  of  Helgi's  coming. 

3  One  of  the  finest  similes  tor  sleep. 

4  Here  dis  may  be  sister  or  guardian- 
spirit.     Skjoldungs  —  kings. 

5  The  bondmaid   calls   Helgi    and   his 
men  ghosts  and  fiends. 

6  See  description  in  Eyrbyggia.     Each 
ghost  was  called  by  its  name,  and  had  to 
leave  by  the  opposite  door. 

7  Cf.  also  Laxdc-ela,  24  ;  Gretti,  34-37. 


could  not  dwell  on  these  farms.  Bolstad  was  also  empty 
of  people,  for  Thorolf  began  to  haunt  there  as  soon  as 
Arnkel  (the  bondi,  Thorolf  s  son)  was  dead,  and  killed  men 
and  cattle.  And  no  man  has  dared  to  settle  there  since 
because  of  this.  When  this  farm  was  quite  deserted,  Bo-gifot 
haunted  TJlfarsfell,  and  caused  great  trouble  there.  All  the 
people  were  struck  with  terror  when  they  became  aware 
of  him.  The  bondi  went  to  Karsstadir  and  complained  of 
this  to  Thorod,  for  he  was  his  tenant.  He  said  it  was  the 
opinion  of  people  that  Boegifot  would  not  stop  before  he  had 
devastated  the  whole  fjord  of  men  and  cattle,  and  if  no 
means  were  tried  against  this  he  would  not  be  able  to  keep 
himself  there  any  longer.  When  Thorod  heard  this,  he 
thought  it  was  not  easy  to  deal  with.  Next  morning  he 
sent  for  his  horse,  and  told  his  huskarls  (servants)  to  go 
with  him,  and  also  had  men  from  the  next  farms  with  him. 
They  went  to  Boegifotshofdi  (Cape  of  Boegifot)  to  Thorolf's 
grave.  He  was  then  still  not  decayed,  and  very  troll-like 
to  look  at.  He  was  blue  like  Hel,  and  stout  like  a  bull. 
When  going  to  move  him,  they  could  not  lift  him  at  all. 
Then  Thorod  had  a  felled  tree  pushed  under  him,  and  thus 
they  lifted  him  out  of  the  grave.  Then  they  rolled  him 
down  on  the  beach,  cut  wood,  made  a  large  pile,  set  it  on 
fire,  rolled  Thorolf  on  it,  and  burned  the  whole  into  cold 
ashes,  though  it  lasted  long  before  the  fire  could  take  in 
Thorolf's  body.  It  was  blowing  a  hard  gale,  and  the  ashes 
were  blown  far  and  wide  while  the  burning  lasted,  and  all  the 
ashes  they  could  they  raked  out  on  the  sea.  When  they  had 
finished  this  work,  they  went  home  and  came  there  about 
bedtime  "  (Eyrbyggja,  c.  63). 

In  later  times  the  seid  people  were  feared  and  punished, 
because  thev  did  evil.  Harald  Fairhair  burnt  one  of  his  own 


sons  because  he  had  mixed  himself  up  with  this  form  of  witch- 

"  If  a  woman  is  accused  of  using  witchcraft,  "  galdr,"  and 
sorcery,  six  women  shall  be  named  on  both  sides  of  her  who 
are  known  to  be  good  housewives ;  they  shall  give  evidence 
that  she  knows  neither  galdr  nor  sorcery.  If  they  do  not, 
she  is  an  outlaw.  The  king  gets  one  half  of  her  property, 
and  the  bishop  the  other  "  (Gulath  28). 

"  Rognvald  Rettilbeini  owned  Hadaland  ;  he  learned  witch- 
craft, and  became  a  seid-man.  King  Harald  disliked  seid- 

1  Snorri  Harald  Fairhair's  Saga,  ch.  36. 


men.      In   Hord  aland    there  was  a  seid-inan  called  Yitgeir ; 
Harald  sent  him   word  to  leave  off  seid.     He  answered  and 

sang  : 

It  does  little  harm  When  Rognvald 

Though  we  the  children  Ke'ttilbeini, 

Of  bcendr  The  famous  son  of  Harald, 

Make  seid  Makes  seid  in  Hadaland. 

When  Harald  heard  this,  he  sent  Eirik  (Blood-axe)  to  Uplond  ; 
he  came  to  Hadaland  and  burnt  his  brother  Koguveld,  together 
with  eighty  seid-men,  in  his  house;  this  deed  was  much 
praised  "  (Harald  Fairhair,  c.  36). 

VOL.  i.  2  Q 



Belief  in  omens — The  sight  of  blood  oil  food  a  foreboding  of  violent  death- 
Blood  dripping  from  weapons  a  sign  of  fierce  conflict — Peculiar  appear- 
ances of  the  moon — Ravens — Howling  wolves — Stumbling  when  going 
to  fight — The  second  song  of  Sigurd  Fal'uisbani— Supernatural  beings- 

THE  people  were  strong  believers  in  omens,  to  which  they 
paid  great  attention,  and  which  were  supposed  to  be  seen  by 
persons  when  awake  or  in  their  dreams.  Some  omens  repeated 
themselves  before  recurring  events  of  the  same  kind. 

If  any  one  imagined  that  he  saw  blood  on  his  food,  or  that  his 
food  disappeared,  he  expected  a  speedy  and  violent  death  ;  l  and 
it  was  a  common  belief  that  blood  dripping  from  weapons,  or 
their  sounding  loud  when  used,  foreboded  a  fierce  battle  or 

"He  (Hildigliim)  heard  a  crash  so  loud  that  he  thought 
both  earth  and  heaven  shook  from  it.  Then  he  looked  into 
the  west,  and  saw  a  ring  with  the  colour  of  flame,  and  in  it  a  man 
on  a  grey  horse.  He  passed  quickly  ;  and  had  a  burning  fire- 
brand in  his  hand.  He  rode  so  near  him  that  he  could  easily 
see  him.  He  was  black  as  pitch.  He  sang  this  stanza  with 
a  loud  voice  :— 

I  ride  on  a  Poison  in  the  middle ; 

Rime-frost  maned  horse,  Thus  is  it  with  Flosi's  plan 

With  dewy  wet  mane,  As  if  a  stick  were  thrown, 

Causing  evil ;  Thus  is  it  with  Flosi's  plan 

Fire  is  in  the  ends  of  the  brand.  As  when  a  stick  is  thrown. 

It  seemed  to  him  that  he  flung  it  eastward  to  the  mountains, 
and  that  such  fire  rose  from  it  that  he  did  not  see  the 
mountains  for  it.  It  seemed  to  him  the  man  rode  eastward 
to  the  fire  and  disappeared  there.  Then  he  went  in  to  his 
bed,  and  fell  in  a  long  swoon,  but  woke  from  it.  He  remem- 

1    Viga  Styr,  102.  |         "  Xjal.-i,  7'J,  79. 


bered  all  that  had  passed  before  his  eyes,  and  told  it  to  his 
lather,  who  asked  him  to  tell  it  to  Hjalti  Skeggjason.  I  It- 
went  to  Hjalti  and  told  him.  '  Thou  hast  seen  a  gandreid,' * 
said  Hjalti, 'and  it  always  forebodes  great  tidings"  (Njala. 
c.  125).' 

Before  the  burning  of  Njal  the  following  omen,  whieli 
proved  true,  appeared  at  his  farm  Bergtliorshval  :— 

"  Bergthora  (his  wife)  carried  food  to  the  table.  Njal  said  : 
'  Strange  does  this  look  to  me  now  ;  I  think  I  look  all  over  the 
room,  and  that  both  the  gable-walls  are  off',  and  the  table  and 
the  food  all  covered  with  blood.'  All  except  Skarphedin  were 
startled  at  this.  He  asked  them  not  to  grieve  or  look  sorrowful 
so  that  people  would  talk  of  it  "  (Njala,  c.  127). 

"  It  happened  when  Gunnar  and  Kolskegg  rode  to  wan  Is 
Rang;!  that  blood  fell  on  the  halberd  of  Gunnar.  Kolskegg 
asked  why  this  was  so.  Gunnar  answered  that  when  this 
happened  in  other  countries  it  was  called  blood-rain,  and 
Olver  bondi  in  Hising  said  that  this  usually  foreboded  great 
tidings  "  (Njala,  c.  72). 

Among  these  omens  must  be  reckoned  the  so-called  Urtl«r- 
indni  (the  moon  of  Urd),  a  peculiar  kind  of  appearance  of  the 
moon  which  foreboded  the  death  of  many  people.3  There  were 
also  natural  omens,  good  and  bad.  It  was  considered  a  good 
omen  if  a  warrior  saw  a  raven  follow  him  when  going  to  fight 
—the  interpretation  probably  being  that  the  raven  followed  a 
victor  in  order  to  eat  the  corpses  of  the  enemy  ;  it  was  also  a 
good  omen  to  see  or  meet  two  men  conversing,  or  to  hear 
a  wolf  howl.  When  a  man  who  was  slain  by  any  kind  of 
weapon  fell  on  his  face  it  was  thought  to  be  an  omen  that  he 
would  be  revenged,  and  the  vengeance  would  come  down  upon 
the  man  who  stood  just  in  front  of  him  when  he  tell ; 3  but  to 
stumble  when  going  to  light,  or  to  hear  the  croaking  of  ravens, 
was  considered  a  bad  omen. 

The  second  song  of  Sigurd  Fafnisbani  relates  how  Sigurd  was 
going  to  make  war  on  the  sons  of  Hunding.  As  he  sailed  aloii-- 
the  coast  a  man  stood  on  a  rock  and  asked  him  who  they  wen-. 
They  answered,  and  when  they  asked  who  he  was  he  said 

1  Gandreid  =  wolf     ride,      wizard    or 
witches'  ride. 

2  Eyrbyggja,     5'2,    where     the    moon 

moves  all  round  along  the  wall. 


Egil,  24. 



he  was  called  HniJcar  (one  of  Odin's  names),  but  they  might 
call  him  the  man  of  the  rock,  Feng  or  Fjolnir  (Odin's  names). 
He  went  on  board  and  the  storm  ceased. 

Sigurd  sang 

Tell  me,  Hnikar, 

As  thou  knowest  both 

The  luck  of  gods  and  men, 

Which  are  best 

If  one  should  fight 

Omens  at  the  swoop  of  swords. 


Many  warnings  are  good 

J  f  men  knew  them 

At  the  swoop  of  swords  ; 

I  think  the  Col  lowing 

Of  the  black  raven 

Is  good  for  a  sivord-tree.1 

A  second  (warning)  is, 

If  thou  hast  walked  out 

And  art  ready  on  thy  way,. 

And  thou  seest 

Standing  on  the  path 

Two  men  anxious  to  praise  thee. 

A  third  is  that 

If  thou  nearest  a  wolf 

Howl  under  asb.-branc.hes. 

Good  luck  wilt  thou  get 

Against  helmet-staffs1 

If  thou  seest  the  wolves  ahead. 

No  man  should  fight 
With  his  face  against 
The  late  shining 
Sister  of  the  moon ;  2 

Those  gain  victory 

Who  are  able  to  see 

The  feats  of  the  sword-play, 

Or  can  array  in  wedge-shape.3 

It  is  a  great  danger 

If  thou  stumblest 

When  thon  rushest  into  fight ; 

Faithless  Disir 

Stand  on  either  side  of  thee 

And  long  to  see  thee  wounded. 

Combed  and  washed 

Should  every  wise  man  be, 

And  Avell  fed  in  the  morning, 

For  it  is  uncertain 

Where  he  may  be  at  night ; 

It  is  bad  to  hurry  ahead  of  one's  luck. 

"  One  morning  a  raven  came  to  the  lighthole  at   Brekka, 
and  croaked  loudly ;  then  Hromund  sang- 

Chiefs  were  death-fated, 
When  the  birds  of  Graut8  foretold  the 

Outside  I  hear  in  the  morning  twi- 

The  dark  bine  swan4  of  the  sweat  of 
the  wound-thorn  5  croak  ; 

The  prey  wakes  the  wary-minded 

Thus  of  yore  screamed 

The  hawk  of  Gunn  7  before 


The  hail-sprinkled  gull9  of  the  wave 

of  heaps  of  slain 
Screams  when  it  comes  from  the  sea ; 

1  A  warrior. 

2  Sister  of  the  moon  =  sun. 

3  The  famous  war  custom. 

4  I.e.,  raven. 

3  Wound-thorn,   sword ;  sweat  of  the 
sword,  blood. 

6  The  raven  was  looked  upon  as  very 
wise  and  prophetic. 

7  I.e  .  a  Valkvrja. 

8  The  birds  of  Odin  were  the  birds  of 
prey,  or  perhaps  his  ravens  Hugin  and 
Munin  coming  to  tell  him  the  news. 

9  The    hail-sprinkled    gull,    sprinkled 
with  blood;  hail — poetical  expression  used 
for  arrows.     The  wave  of  the    heap   of 
slain — the    blood    of   the    slain    making 
waves  by  its  quantity.     A  gull  is  often 
used  as  meaning  a  bird  of  prey. 


Its  mind  craves  Death  was  not  fated  to  me 

The  prey  of  the  morning  ;  To-day  or  yesterday ; 

Thus  of  yore  screamed  Is  make  ready  for  the  sound  of  Ilm.4 

The  bird  of  corpses  I  care  little  though  plays 

From  the  old  tree  The  dyed  wand  of  Hedin's  cloth5 

When  the  hawks  wanted  the  mead      Against  red  shields ; 

of  kings. l  To  us  life  was  marked  before." 

Hromund.  (Landnama,  ii.  c.  33.) 

Tive  of  the  shield,2 

When  there  was  to  be  an  important  event  there  were  always 
some  omens  before  it  took  place,  in  the  shape  of  visions,  or 
supernatural  beings  who  sang  songs  which  foretold  the  event. 

It  foreboded  a  violent  death  if  a  man  saw  his  fylgja 

"  Once  Njal  and  Thord  (his  servant)  were  outside  the  farm. 
A  he-goat  was  in  the  habit  of  going  about  the  grass-plot  on 
the  farm,  and  no  one  was  allowed  to  drive  it  away.  Thord  said, 
'  This  is  strange.'  Njal  asked,  '  What  dost  thou  see  which 
seems  strange  ? '  He  answered,  '  It  seems  to  me  that  the 
he-goat  lies  here  in  the  hollow  place,  and  is  bloody  all  over.'- 
Njal  replied  there  was  no  he-goat  there,  nor  anything  else. 
'What  is  it,  then  ?  '  inquired  Thord.  '  Thou  must  be  a  death- 
fated  man,  and  hast  seen  thy  Fylgja,'  said  Njal,  'and  guard 
thyself  well.'  '  That  will  not  help,'  added  Thord,  •  if  death  is 
fated  to  me  '  '  (Njala,  c.  41). 

"  It  is  said  that  King  Gorm  once  invited  to  a  Yule-feast 
his  father-in-law  Harald,  who  promised  to  come  in  the  winter, 
and  the  messengers  so  reported. 

"  WThen  the  time  for  preparation  came  the  Jarl  chose  such 
followers  to  the  feast  as  he  wanted.  Knut  went  with  him,  but 
it  is  not  said  how  many  men  he  had.  They  arrived  at  the 
Lirnafjord,  and  as  they  were  about  to  cross  it  they  saw  there 
an  oak  which  appeared  somewhat  unusual.  There  were  growing 
on  it  acorns,  which  were  small  and  quite  green,  but  under  it 
lay  others  both  ripe  and  large.  At  this  they  wondered  much, 
and  the  Jarl  thought  it  very  strange  that  there  should  be 
green  acorns  at  that  time  of  the  year,  for  there  lay  near  the 
oak  those  which  had  grown  during  the  summer.  '  We  will  go 

1  The  mead  of  kings  (blood  of  warriors       take  my  weapon  for  battle,  as  the  sound 
slain  by  the  host  of  kings).  of  Ilmis    -  noise  made  by  weapons. 

2  Shield  is  called  here  the  plain  of  the  4  A  Valkyrja. 

ring.      The    tree    of    the    shield    is    the  5   Hedin's  cloth  —  armour.     The   dyed 

wand  is  the  sword  dripping  with  blood. 


3   I  make  ready  for  the  sound  of  Ilm — 

l.'il  SUPERSTITIONS.— OMENS.      • 

back,'  s;iiil  tin.-  .Jarl,  'and  proceed  no  farther.'  He  thereupon 
returned  home,  where  he  remained  with  his  bird  the  next 
season.  The  King  deemed  it  strange  that  the  Jarl  did  not 
come,  but  thought  something  important  had  prevented  him. 
All  was  quiet  during  the  summer,  and  when  winter  came  the 
King  invited  the  Jarl  to  the  Yule-feast,  as  in  the  previous  year. 
Thi-  Jarl  promised  to  go,  as  before,  and  when  the  time  came 
departed  with  his  followers,  and  journeyed  until  he  came  to 
the  Liniaijord.  He  had  now  come  on  board,  and  intended  to 
cross  the  fjord.  It  is  said  that  they  had  with  them  pregnant 
I  (itches.  After  they  had  got  on  board  the  Jarl  thought  he 
heard  the  whelps  in  the  bellies  of  the  bitches  barking,  while 
the  mothers  themselves  were  silent.  This  the  Jarl  and  all 
regarded  as  the  greatest  wonder,  and  they  therefore  turned 
back,  and  stayed  at  home  during  that  Yule.  On  the  third 
winter  the  King  again  invited  the  Jarl,  who  promised  to  come  ; 
and  when  the  time  came  he  departed,  and  journeyed  until  he 
arrived  at  the  Limafjord,  resolving  to  remain  there  overnight. 
Then  a  sight  presented  itself  which  was  thought  very  strange. 
They  saw  a  wave  rise  within,  and  another  without,  the  fjord, 
and  the  two  advanced  to  meet  each  other.  The  waves  were 
large  and  made  a  great  noise  when  they  met  and  fell  together; 
then  it  seemed  as  if  the  sea  became  bloody.  Then  the  Jarl 
said,  '  This  is  a  fearful  portent,  and  we  must  turn  back  and 
not  accept  the  invitation.'  This  they  did,  and  the  Jarl 

remained  at  home  also  that  Yule 

"  It  was  resolved  that  the  King  should  send  messengers  to 
the  Jarl  to  ascertain  why  he  had  not  come.  The  Queen 
advised  that  they  should  first  meet  and  talk  to  him,  and 
thus  see  what  the  reason  was.  When  the  messengers  told  the 
Jarl  of  their  errand,  he  quickly  got  ready  and  went  to  visit 
<  Jorm  with  a  fine  retinue.  The  King  received  his  father-in-law 
well,  and  quickly  went  to  speak  with  him.  The  King  asked 
why  he  had  not  once  come  at  his  bidding,  and  thus  shown 
disrespect  to  the  King  and  his  invitation  The  Jarl  replied 
that  he  had  meant  no  disrespect,  but  had  not  once  come  to 
the  feast,  because  other  things  had  prevented  him.  He  then 
told  the  wonders  which  they  had  seen,  as  mentioned  before, 
and  asked  if  he  would  like  to  know  what  he  thought  each 
wonder  meant  To  this  the  King  assented.  The  Jarl  then 
said :  '  1  will  first  take  that  one  where  we  saw  an  oak  with 
small  green  acorns,  with  the  old  and  large  ones  underneath. 
That  1  think  must  foretell  a  change  of  belief  which  will  come 
over  these  lands,  which  will  flourish  more,  and  the  fine  acorns 
foretell  that ;  but  the  present  belief  is  betokened  by  the  old 
acorns  on  the  ground,  and  they  will  rot  and  become  mere  dust : 

A  visi<>.\  I-:\I'LAIM:I>.  4.V> 

this  belief  will  also  fall  and  be  destroyed  \\hen  the  new  one 
rises.  The  second  wonder  was  when  we  heard  the  w  helps 
bark  in  the  bitches.  That  1  think  must  foretell  that  young  men 
will  take  the  words  from  the  mouths  of  the  older,  and  become 
so  reckless  that  they  will  have  no  less  to  say,  though  the  older 
are  oftener  wiser  in  counsels.  And  I  think  that  those  of  whom 
this  will  be  true  have  not  yet  come  into  the  world,  for  the 
whelps  which  barked  while  the  mothers  were  silent  were  yet 

'"The  third,  when  we  saw  the  waves,  one  from  the  outer 
part,  and  the  other  from  the  inner  part  of  the  fjord,  meet  mid- 
ways and  fall  each  on  the  other's  neck,  and  the  water  become 
bloody  from  the  disturbance  therefrom  forebodes,  I  think,  that 
some  enmity  will  arise  between  great  men  within  the  country, 
whence  will  come  lights  and  much  disturbance.  It  is  very 
likely  that  some  offshoot  of  this  war  will  take  place  at  the 
Limafjord,  because  it  is  there  we  have  seen  these  wonders  of 
which  I  have  spoken.' 

"  King  G-orm  was  satisfied  with  the  words  of  the  Jarl,  and 
thought  him  wise  ;  he  gave  him  peace,  and  his  anger  departed. 
It  is  said  that  before  they  went  into  the  speech-room  the  King 
had  set  men  to  slay  the  Jarl,  if  haughtiness  and  disrespect 
were  the  onlv  reasons  for  his  not  coming  to  the  feast  when 

*>  O 

invited  ;  but  the  King  now  thought  he  had  good  cause  for  not 
coming.  They  went  away  from  the  speech-room,  and  the  Jarl 
remained  with  him  for  a  while.  They  then  separated  in  peace, 
and  the  Jarl  received  good  gifts.  He  left  with  his  followers, 
and  had  a  good  journey  home. 

u  A  short  time  after  Klakkharald  gave  his  foster-son  and 
kinsman  Knut  all  -his  realm,  and  Knut  took  the  rule  of  Holt- 
setaland  and  all  the  realms  of  Harald  Jarl. 

"  The  Jarl  made  ready  to  leave,  and  began  his  journey 
southward  to  Valland.  He  there  embraced  Christianity,  and 
never  returned  to  Denmark  "  (Flateyjarbok,  vol.  i.). 



Faith  placed  in  dreams — Kevelations  of  the  gods  in  dreams — Their  interpre- 
tation an  important  gift — Absence  of  dreams  considered  a  misfortune — 
Magical  sleep. 

THE  faith  of  the  Northmen  in  dreams1  was  almost  as  great 
as  that  which  they  placed  in  their  gods  ;  like  the  ancient 
Egyptians,  Greeks,  Jews,  and  other  earlier  nations,  they 
believed  that  by  them  they  were  informed  of  coming  events. 
Instances  frequently  occur  in  the  Sagas  of  men  wishing  to 
dream  in  order  to  know  the  future.  Those  dreams  which  were 
of  greatest  importance  were  believed  to  be  influenced  by  the 
revelations  of  the  gods  to  the  sleeper.  Odin  in  a  dream 
showed  King  Eirik  the  Victorious  how  it  would  go  in  the 
battle  against  Styrbjorn.2 

The  place  where  any  one  dreamt  was  considered  important, 
especially  if  the  dream  was  in  a  new  house ;  the  interpretation 
of  dreams  consequently  was  considered  an  important  gift,  and 
men  and  women  who  could  explain  them  were  called  draum- 
spekingar  (dream-wise),3  amongst  whom  the  Queens  Ingigerd 
and  Thyri  had  great  renown. 

"  Harald  was  a  Jarl  who  ruled  over  Holtsetaland  (Holstein)  ; 
he  was  nicknamed  Klakldiarald.  He  was  a  wise  man,  and  had 
a  daughter  Thyri,  who  was  the  wisest  of  women,  and  inter- 
preted dreams  better  than  others.  She  was  also  handsome. 
The  Jarl  looked  to  her  for  the  rule  of  the  land,  consulted  her 
in  everything,  and  loved  her  much.  When  Gorm  had  grown 
up  and  had  taken  the  kingship,  he  left,  and  intended  to  ask 

1  In  Helgakvida   Hundingsbaua,  sleep 
is  called  draum-thing  (dream-meeting). 

2  Halfdan  dreamt  of  the  greatness  of 
his  family,  Halfdan  the  Black,  c.  7.  Some- 

times there   were  different  explanations 
of  the  same  dream  (Vatnsdsela,  42). 
3  Lasdffila,  33  ;  Atlamal,  14-25. 

QUEEN  THYEl  EXPLAINS  A  DREAM.         457 

for  the  hand  of  Harald  Jarl's  daughter,  or  else  attack  him. 
When  Harald  Jarl  and  his  daughter  heard  of  King  Gorm's 
journey  and  of  his  intentions,  they  sent  messengers  to  invite 
him  to  a  grand  feast.  This  he  accepted,  and  sat  with  them  at 
the  feast  in  good  friendship  and  honour.  Then  he  announced 
his  errand  to  the  Jarl,  who  said  that  his  daughter  should  decide 
for  herself,  as  she  was  much  wiser  than  he.  His  suit  was 
brought  before  her,  and  she  said  :  '  It  shall  not  be  decided  forth- 
with, and  thou  shalt  return  with  good  and  honourable  gifts. 
If  thou  thinkest  much  of  me,  thou  shalt,  when  thou  comest  home, 
quickly  cause  to  be  built  a  house  large  enough  for  sleeping 
in.  It  must  stand  where  no  house  has  stood  before.  Therein 
shalt  thou  sleep  the  first  night  of  the  winter,  and  three  nights 
together ;  and  remember  if  thou  dreamest  anything.  And  thou 
shalt  send  men  to  tell  me  of  thy  dreams,  if  thou  hast  any,  and 
I  will  then  say  whether  I  will  marry  thee  or  not.  But  do 
not  send  if  thou  dost  not  dream.'  After  this  talk,  King  Gorm 
remained  but  a  short  time  at  the  feast,  and  made  ready  to 
go  home,  as  he  was  anxious  to  try  her  wisdom.  He  left  with 
much  honour  and  suitable  gifts.  When  he  returned  home, 
he  did  in  all  things  as  she  had  told  him  :  had  the  house  built, 
and  went  into  it  as  directed.  He  left  three  hundred  fully- 
armed  men  near  the  house,  and  bade  them  watch  and  guard, 
as  he  thought  there  might  be  some  treachery  connected  with 
it.  He  lay  down  on  the  bed  which  had  been  made  in  the 
house,  and  fell  asleep  and  dreamt ;  and  there  he  slept  three 
nights,  and  then  sent  men  and  writings  to  Holtsetalaud  to 
the  Jarl. 

"  The  messengers  arrived  and  told  Harald  Jarl  and  his 
daughter  of  King  Gorm's  dreams,  and  their  errand  to  Thyri. 
When  she  had  heard  the  dreams,  she  said :  '  You  may  stay 
here  as  long  as  you  like,  but  you  shall  tell  your  king  that  I 
will  marry  him.'  They  returned  and  told  the  king,  who  was 
very  glad. 

"  He  made  his  journey  to  Holtsetaland  with  many  and  well- 
dressed  men.  Harald  Jarl  heard  of  it,  and  had  a  splendid 
feast  and  grand  entertainment  prepared  for  him  ;  and  now 
they  were  married  and  loved  each  other  well.  At  the  feast 
Gorm  entertained  them  by  telling  his  dreams.  '  I  dreamt 
the  first  night,  and  all  the  three  nights  which  I  slept  in  the 
house,  that  I  was  outside  and  overlooked  my  whole  realm. 
I  saw  the  sea  recede  from  the  land  so  that  all  islands,  sounds, 
and  fjords  were  dry.  After  that  I  saw  that  three  oxen  went 
out  of  the  sea  upon  the  land  where  I  was,  and  bit  off  all  the 
grass  closely  where  they  walked,  and  then  went  away. 

" '  The  second  dream  was  very  like  the  first,  for  it  seemed 


as  if  three  oxen  again  came  up  from  the  sea ;  all  were  red, 
with  large  horns ;  they  bit  off  the  grass  as  closely  as  the 
previous  ones,  after  which  they  returned. 

" '  In  the  third  dream,  which  was  like  the  others,  I  saw 
three  oxen  come  up  again ;  they  were  all  black,  and  much 
larger  horned  than  the  others ;  after  a  while  they  returned  to 
the  water.  After  that  I  heard  such  a  terrible  crash  that 
I  thought  it  must  be  heard  all  over  Denmark,  and  I  saw  that 
it  was  caused  by  the  sea  returning  toward  the  shore.  Now,' 
he  said,  '  I  want  thee,  queen,  to  interpret  the  dream  for  the 
entertainment  of  those  present,  and  thus  show  thy  wisdom.' 
She  consented,  and  interpreted  the  dream  as  follows :  '  When 
three  white  oxen  went  up  out  of  the  sea  on  the  land,  that 
must  mean  three  severe  winters,  when  so  much  snow  will  fall 
that  the  season  will  be  bad.  When  thou  sawest  three  other 
red  oxen,  that  means  there  will  come  three  snowless  winters, 
but  yet  not  good  ones,  for  they  bite  the  grass  off  the  ground. 
The  three  black  oxen  signify  that  there  will  come  three 
winters,  which  will  be  so  bad  that  none  have  ever  seen  the 
like,  and  such  a  black  and  bad  season  and  famine  will 
come  over  the  land  that  it  will  be  unexampled.  That  thou 
sawest  them'  with  large  horns  means  there  will  be  many 
outcasts  who  will  lose  all  their  property ;  that  they  went  again 
into  the  sea  means  that  the  bad  season  will  leave  the  land 
like  they  did ;  and  that  thou  heardest  a  loud  crash  when  the 
sea  again  came  back  on  the  shore  means  the  war  of  powerful 
men,  who  shall  meet  here  in  Denmark,  and  have  fights  and 
great  battles.  It  seems  to  me  likely  that  some  of  the  men  in 
some  of  the  wars  will  be  near  kinsmen  to  thee.  If  thou  hadst 
first  dreamt  those  things  that  were  last,  then  these  wars  would 
have  taken  place  in  thy  time,  but  now  this  will  do  no  harm; 
and  I  would  then  not  have  gone  with  thee  if  thou  hadst  dreamt 
as  I  have  before  said.  I  can  hinder  all  these  dreams  about 
the  famine  from  being  fulfilled.'  After  this  feast  King  Gorm 
and  Queen  Thyri  went  home  to  Denmark,  and  had  many  ships 
loaded  with  corn  and  other  food,  and  transported  this  to 
Denmark ;  the  same  was  kept  up  every  year  until  the  arrival 
of  those  severe  years  which  she  had  foretold.  When  the  hard 
time  came  they  wanted  for  nothing  on  account  of  their 
preparations,  and  there  was  no  want  in  Denmark,  for  they 
distributed  much  grain  among  the  people.  Thyri  was  thought 
to  be  the  wisest  woman  that  had  ever  been  in  Denmark,  and 
was  called  Thyri  Danmarkarbot  (Denmark's  helper,  saver)" 
(Flateyjarbok,  vol.  i.). 

People  were  often  forewarned  of  death  in  their  dreams  :— 

".s  IHih'AM.  4f>9 

"  One  night  when  King-  Ivar  slept  in  the  ]iji>tni<f  (upper 
deck)  on  his  dragon-ship,  it  seemed  to  him  that  a  great 
dragon  flew  Out  of  the  sea.  Its  colour  was  golden,  and  it 
glowed  in  the  air  as  if  sparks  were  flying  from  the  hearth  of 
a  forge,  and  shone  over  all  the  lands  nearest  it.  Behind 
it  flew  all  the  birds  that  he  knew  of  in  the  northern  lands. 
He  saw  a  great  cloud  rising  in  the  north-east,  followed  by  such 
a  rain-storm  that  it  seemed  to  him  all  the  forests  and  the 
whole  land  were  floating  in  the  water  which  had  fallen:  this 
\\as  accompanied  by  thunder  and  lightning.  When  the  large 
dragon  flew  towards  the  land,  he  met  the  rain-storm,  and  such 
a  darkness  arose  that  he  could  see  neither  the  dragon  nor  the 
birds,  but  only  heard  the  loud  sound  of  the  thunder  and  the 
tempest.  This  passed  south  and  west  over  the  land,  and  all 
over  his  realm.  Then  it  seemed  to  him  all  his  ships  had  been 
changed  into  whales,  and  swam  out  to  sea.  At  this  he  awoke 
and  called  his  foster-father,  Hord,  told  him  his  dream,  and 
asked  him  to  interpret  it.  Hord  said  he  was  so  old  he  could 
not  understand  dreams.  He  stood  on  a  rock  near  to  one  end 
of  the  gangway,  but  the  king  lay  in  the  lypting,  and  was  un- 
fastening the  lower  border  of  the  tent  as  they  talked.  The 
king  was  in  a  bad  humour,  and  bade  Hord  go  down  on  the 
ship  and  interpret  his  dream.  Hord  answered  that  he  would 
not,  and  said,  '  I  need  not  interpret  thy  dream  ;  thou  must 
know  thyself  what  it  means.  It  is  likely  it  will  not  be  long 
before  others  rule  Sweden  and  Denmark.  Now  a  greediness 
foreboding  death  has  come  upon  thee,  as  thou  wantest  to 
conquer  for  thyself  every  realm,  and  dost  not  know  that  on 
the  contrary  thou  wilt  die  and  thy  foes  take  thy  realm.'  The 
king  said.  '  Come  here  and  tell  thy  evil  prophecies.'  Hord 
said",  'I  shall  stand  here  and  tell  them.'  The  king  said,  'To 
whom  of  the  Asar  was  Halfdan  the  Valiant  like?'  Hord 
answered,  'He  was  as  Baldr  was  with  the  Asar,  over  whom  all  the 
gods  wept,  and  not  like  thee.'  The  king  said,  '  That  is  good. 
Come  here  and  tell  it.'  Hord  answered,  '  I  will  stand  here  and 
tell.'  The  king  replied  :  '  To  whom  of  the  Asar  was  Hra-rek 
like?'  'To  HaBiiir,  who  was  the  greatest  coward  of  the  Asar, 
though  he  was  less  cowardly  than  thou  art,'  The  king  asked, 
'To  whom  of  the  Asar  was  Helgi  the  Sharp  like?'  Hord  replied, 
'He  was  as  Hermod,  who  was  very  bold,  and  did  harm  to  thee.' 
The  king  said,  '  To  whom  of  the  Asar  was  Gudrod  like  ? ' 
Hord :  '  He  was  as  Heimdal,  who  was  the  most  foolish  of  all 
the  Asar,  and  nevertheless  a  lesser  fool  than  thou.'  The  king  : 
'  To  whom  of  the  Asar  am  I  like  ? '  '  Thou  resemblest  the 

1    S,-e  Vol.  II.,  p.  14-J. 


worst  of  all  serpents  existing,  the  Midgardsorm.'  The  king 
answered  in  great  anger  :  '  li'thou  tellest  me  I  am  death-doomed. 
I  can  tell  thee  thou  shalt  live  no  longer,  for  I  know  thee,  thou 
great  Thurs.  Now  corne  nearer,  thou  Midgardsorm,  and  let 
us  try  our  strength.'  The  king  rushed  from  the  lypting,  and 
was  so  angry  that  he  jumped  out  under  the  lower  eclge  of  the 
tent.  Hord  plunged  into  the  sea  from  the  rock,  and  the  men 
on  the  watch  on  board  the  king's  ship  saw  neither  of  them 
come  up  on  the  surface  afterwards  "  (Sogubrot,  c.  3). 

"  He  (Grjiiki)  had  three  sons,  Gunnar,  Hogni,  and  Guttorm. 
Gudriin,  his  daughter,  was  a  most  famous  maiden.  .  .  .  Gjiiki 
was  married  to  Grimhild,  the  witchcraft-knowing.  King  Budli 
was  more  powerful  than  Gjiiki,  though  both  were  powerful. 
Atli,  the  brother  of  Brynhild  (Budli's  daughter),  was  a  cruel, 
large,  swarthy  man,  but  of  an  imposing  look,  and  the  greatest 
warrior.  Grimhild  was  a  woman  of  fierce  mind.  The  Gjukungs 
flourished  much,  mostly  because  of  their  children  who  surpassed 
most  others.  Once  Gudriin  told  her  maidens  that  she  could 
not  be  merry.  A  woman  asked  her  what  was  the  reason.  She 
answered :  '  We  did  not  get  good  luck  in  dreams,  and  the 
sadness  of  my  heart  thou  didst  ask  about  is  caused  by  a 
dream.'  The  woman  said :  '  Tell  me,  and  let  it  not  sadden 
thee,  for  dreams  often  forbode  the  weather.'  Gudriin  said: 
'  This  one  does  not.  I  dreamt  that  I  saw  a  fine  hawk  on  my 
hand ;  its  feathers  had  a  golden  colour.'  The  woman  said : 
'  Many  have  heard  of  your  beauty,  wisdom,  and  courtesy  ;  the 
son  of  some  king  will  ask  thee  in  marriage.'  Gudriin  said : 
'  .Nothing  did  I  think  better  than  the  hawk,  and  I  would 
rather  have  lost  all  my  property  than  lose  it.'  The  woman 
said :  '  Thy  husband  will  be  a  great  man,  and  thou  wilt  love 
him  much.'  Gudriin  said  :  '  It  grieves  me  that  I  do  not  know 
who  he  is ;  let  us  go  to  Brynhild,  she  will  know  it.'  They 
made  ready  with  gold  and  great  beauty,  and  went  with  their 
maidens  till  they  came  to  Brynhild's  hall,  which  was  adorned 
with  gold,  and  stood  on  a  mountain.  When  they  were  seen, 
Brynhild  was  told  that  many  women  in  gilded  waggons 1  drove 
towards  the  burgh.  She  replied :  '  That  must  be  Gudriin, 
Gjiiki's  daughter ;  I  dreamt  of  her  this  night ;  let  us  go  out 
and  meet  her ;  handsomer  women  (than  she)  cannot  visit  us.' .  .  . 
Gudriin  said  :  '  I  dreamt  that  many  of  us  walked  together  from 
the  skemma  2  and  saw  a  large  hart  which  far  surpassed  other 
deer ;  its  hair  was  of  gold.  We  all  wished  to  catch  it,  but  I 
alone  succeeded,  and  I  loved  it  above  all  other  things.  Then 
thou  didst  shoot  it  at  my  knees,  which  was  such  a  sorrow  to 

1  See  Vol.  II.;  Frontispiece. 



me  that  I  could  scarcely  bear  it.  Then  thou  gavest  a  wolfs 
cub  to  me,  which  besprinkled  me  with  the  blood  of  my 
brothers.'  Brynhild  answered  :  'I  will  explain  what  will  happen. 
Sigurd,  whom  I  chose  for  my  husband,  will  come  to  you ; 
Giimhild  will  give  him  a  mixed  mead  which  will  cause  heavy 
trials  for  all  of  us  ;  thou  wilt  marry  him  and  quickly  lose  him  ; 
thou  wilt  marry  King  Atli ;  thou  wilt  lose  thy  brothers  and 
slay  Atli.'  Gudnin  said :  '  A  sore  sorrow  is  it  to  us  to  know 
such  things.'  They  went  away  home  to  King  Gjiiki  "  (Vol- 
suuga,  c.  25). 

The  following  dream  foreboded  the  death  of  Gisli,  who  fell 
after  one  of  the  most  memorable  defences  recorded  :— 

"  Gisli  laid  himself  down  and  tried  to  sleep,  while  they  (Aud 
and  Gudrid)  were  awake ;  and  a  sleep  came  over  him.  He 
dreamt  that  two  birds  came  to  the  house  and  fought  by 
stealth ;  they  were  rather  larger  than  cock  ptarmigans,  and 
screamed  rather  loudly ;  they  were  dyed  all  over  in  blood. 
He  awoke  after  this.  And  (his  wife)  asked  if  he  had  dreamt 
anything :  '  Thy  sleep-journeys  are  not  good  now,'  said  she. 
He  sang  a  song  (describing  what  he  had  dreamt)  "  (Gisli 
Sursson's  Saga,  p.  95). 

When  the  brothers  Gunnar  and  Hogni  were  invited  on  a 
visit  by  King  Atli,  by  whom  they  were  afterwards  slain,  their 
wives  dreamt  bad  dreams.  Kostbera,  Hogni's  wife,  tells  her 
dream  to  her  husband,  and  Glaumvor  afterwards  to  hers,  in 
order  to  dissuade  them  from  going. 


It  seemed  to  me  thy  sheets 
Burned  in  fire, 
And  that  a  high  flame 
Broke  through  rny  house. 


Here  lie  linen  clothes, 
For  which  you  care  little ; 
They  will  soon  burn 
Where  thou  didst  see  sheets  (burn- 


I  thought  a  bear  had  come  in  here  : 
He  broke  the  walls  ; 

He  shook  his  paws  so  that 

We  were  frightened ; 

He  caught  many  of  us  in  his  mouth, 

So  that  we  were  helpless. 

There  was  no  little1 

Hard  pushing. 


It  is  a  storm  that  will  rise, 
And  soon  become  violent; 
What  thou  thought'st  to  be  a  white 

Will  be  a  rainstorm  from  the  east. 


T  thought  an  eagle  flew  in  here 
Through  the  length  of  the  house  : 

1  There  was  no  little  hard  pushing — 
meaning  that  there  was  a  fight  between 

the  men  and  the   bears  jostling  against 
each  other. 


That  forebodes  to  us  heavy  fight ; 
It  bespattered  us  all  with  blood. 
Because  of  its  threats,  I  thought 
It  was  a  shape  of  Atli's.1 


We  kill  cattle  speedily; 
Then  we  see  blood. 
It  often  means  oxen 
When  we  dream  of  eagles. 
True  is  the  mind  of  Atli, 
Whatever  thou  mayest  dream. 
They  ceased ; 
The  talk  ended. 


I  fancied  a  gallows  made  for  thee, 
And  thou  wert  going  to  hang  thereon 
I  thought  that  snakes  ate  thee, 
That  I  buried  thee  alive ; 
That  the  ragnarok  came. 
Guess  what  it  was. 

Glaumvor.    . 
A  bloody  sword  I  saw, 
Drawn  out  of  thy  shirt. 
It  is  sad  to  tell  of  such  a 
Dream  to  a  near  kinsman.2 
A  spear,  I  tkought, 

Had  pierced  thy  side  ; 
Wolves  howled 
At  both  its  ends. 

Gun  na)\ 

It  is  dogs  that  run, 
Barking  very  loud ; 
The  yelping  of  dogs  often 
Forebodes  the  flying  of  spears. 


It  seemed  to  me  a  river  ran 
Through  the  length  of  the  house, 
Roaring  in  anger, 
Rushing  over  the  benches, 
Breaking  the  feet  of  your 
Two  brothers  here. 
The  water  spared  nothing  : 
This  may  forebode  something. 


It  seemed  to  me  that  dead  women 
Came  hither  this  night ; 
They  were  well  dressed, 
Wanted  to  choose  thee ; 3 
They  bade  thee  come  quickly 
To  their  benches. 
I  say,  the  Disir  * 
Have  abandoned  thee. 

Never  to  dream  was  considered  a  misfortune. 


"  It  happened  that  the  son  of  a  high-born  woman  lost  his 
memory,  as  if  he  was  insane.  His  mother  came  to  King 
Harald,  and  asked  him  for  good  advice.  The  king  advised 
her  to  go  and  see  King  Magnus,  for  he  knew  there  was  none 
better  in  the  land,  and  he  would  give  counsel.  She  went  to 
King  Magnus  accordingly,  who  said,  '  Did  you  not  see  King 
Harald?'  'I  did,'  answered  she,  and  told  him  what  he  said. 
King  Magnus  added,  '  Nobody  is  wiser  than  King  Harald  in 
this  land,  and  he  can  give  some  advice  if  he  have  the  will.' 
King  Harald,  on  hearing  this,  said  :  '  Then  I  shall  give 
I  think  I  see  what  ails  thy  son :  he  is  draumstoli,5 


for  it  is  not  the  nature  of  a  man  that  he  dream  not.     I  advise 
thee  to   go  to  where  King  Magnus    has  washed    his   hands, 

1  One  of's  shapes,  which  he  could 
change  himself  into. 

2  Her  husband. 

3  Summon  to  join  the  dead. 

4  Guardian   spirits  ;   Disir,  the  shapes 

<if  dead  women.     Ct'.  Gisli  Surs&on. 

5  Dreamstolen,  meaning,  that  the 
ability  of  dreaming  had  been  taken  away 
from  him. 


and  let  the  boy  drink  from  the  water.  Then  you  shall 
make  him  sing.  Though  he  is  struck  by  sleepiness  and 
yawning,  you  shall  not  let  him  sleep,  but  take  him  to  where 
the  king  has  rested  himself,  and  let  him  fall  asleep  there,  and 
then  it  is  most  likely  that  a  dream  will  appear  to  him.'  She 
did  all  as  she  had  been  told,  and  her  son  slept  there  a  while ; 
and  when  he  awoke  he  smiled  and  said,  '  I  dreamed,  mother. 
It  seemed  as  if  the  Kings  Magnus  and  Harald  came  to  me,  ami 
each  spoke  in  one  of  my  ears.'  '  Rememberest  thou,  my  son,' 
asked  she,  '  what  each  one  of  them  said  ? '  'I  do,'  he  said. 
'King  Magnus  said,  "Be  as  good  as  you  can."  Not  louir 
after,  King  Harald  said,  "Be  most  quick  at  learning,  and 
retain  in  your  memory  what  you  learn  as  best  you  can."  This 
boy  afterwards  became  a  remarkable  man." 

"King  Halfdan  (the  Black)  never  dreamt.  He  sought 
advice  from  Thorleif  the  Wise  what  to  do.  The  latter  told 
the  king  what  he  himself  used  to  do  when  he  wanted  to  know 
something  beforehand.  He  used  to  lay  himself  to  sleep  in  a 
pigsty,  and  was  then  always  sure  of  a  dream.  The  king  in 
consequence  did  the  same,  and  also  had  a  dream  "  (Halfdan 
the  Black,  c.  7). 

There  was  supposed  to  be  a  kind  of  magical  sleep  which 
came  over  any  one  who  was  stung  by  a  sleep-thorn  (svefn- 
thorn)  placed  in  the  ear.  This  magical  sleep  could  not  be 
broken  until  the  sleep-thorn  fell  out  of  the  ear  of ,  the  person 
under  the  spell. 

"  The  king  (Helgi)  had  drunk  so  heavily  that  he  at  once 
fell  asleep  on  the  bed,  and  the  queen  seized  her  opportunity 
and  stung  him  with  a  sleep-thorn ;  when  all  was  quiet  she  rose, 
shaved  off  all  his  hair  and  besmeared  him  with  tar,  then  she 
took  a  leather  bag  and  put  some  cloth  in  it  in  which  she 
wrapped  him  up,  and  bade  some  men  take  him  down  to  his 
ships.  She  roused  his  men,  saying  that  their  king  had  gone 
on  board  and  wished  to  sail,  as  there  was  a  fair  wind.  They 
all  jumped  up  as  quickly  as  they  could,  but  as  they  were 
drunk  did  not  know  what  they  were  doing ;  they  went  to  the 
ships,  and  saw  no  king  but  a  very  large  leather  bag.  They 
wanted  to  see  what  was  in  it  and  wait  for  the  king,  as  they 
thought  he  would  come  later  on.  When  they  untied  it  they 
found  the  king  inside.  The  sleep-thorn  dropped  down  and  he 
awoke  from  a  bad  dream,  and  was  enraged  with  the  queen  " 
(Hrolf  Kraki's  Saga,  c.  7).1 

Cf.  also  Sigrdrifumal. 



The  old  Asa  belief  and  Christianity — Clinging  to  the  old  faith — King  Hakon 
the  Christian  and  the  heathen  bcendr — Mixture  of  the  two  creeds — H;ikou 
attempts  to  Christianize  the  people — Their  opposition — Performance  of 
ancient  rites  in  secret  after  the  introduction  of  Christianity  —  Sceptics — 
Adaptation  of  Christian  ideas  to  the  old  belief — Cruelty  of  the  earlier 
Christian  kings. 

IN  the  following  accounts  we  see  the  struggle  between 
Christianity  and  the  old  Asa  belief.  Hakon,  the  foster-son  of 
Athelstan,  so  named  because  he  had  been  fostered  by  that  king 
in  England,  came  back  to  Norway  a  Christian,  but  his  people 
clung  to  the  old  faith,  and  to  strengthen  himself  in  the  country 
he  at  first  found  it  necessary  to  observe  the  tenets  of  his 
religion  in  secret.  He  ordered  the  Yule-feast  to  be  celebrated 
at  Christmas,  and  persuaded  some  of  his  best  friends  to  adopt 

"  Hakon  was  a  good  Christian  when  he  came  to  Norway  ;  but 
as  all  the  land  was  heathen,  and  there  were  much  sacrificing 
and  many  chiefs,  and  he  much  needed  the  help  and  friendship 
of  the  people,  he  decided  to  conceal  his  Christianity,  and  kept 
Sundays,  and  fasting  on  Fridays,  and  the  greatest  festivals.  He 
made  it  a  law  that  the  Yule  should  begin  at  the  same  time  as 
that  of  the  Christians,  and  that  every  man  should  have  a  certain 
measure  of  ale,  or  pay  a  fine,  and  keep  the  days  holy  while  Yule 
lasted.  It  formerly  began  on  hokunott  (the  midwinter-night), 
and  it  was  kept  for  three  nights.  He  wanted  to  make  the 
people  Christians,  when  he  got  established  in  the  land  and  had 
fully  subjected  it  to  himself.  He  sent  to  England  for  a  bishop 
and  other  priests.  When  they  came  to  Norway,  Hakon  made 
known  that  he  would  try  to  Christianize  the  land  "  (Hakon  the 
Good's  Saga,  c.  15  ;  Fornmanna  Sogur,  1). 

"  Wise  men  say  that  some  of  those  who  settled  in  Iceland 


had  been  baptized,  and  that  most  of  those  who  came  from  the 
West  (British  Islands)  had  been  baptized.  Among  them  are 
named  Helgi  the  Lean,  Orlyg  the  Old,  Helgi  Bjola,  Jorund  the 
Christian,  Aud  the  Deep-minded,  Ketil,  and  others  who  came 
from  the  West ;  and  some  of  them  kept  Christianity  well 
till  their  death-day ;  but  their  families  seldom  preserved  it, 
for  some  of  their  sons  raised  temples  and  sacrificed,  and  all 
the  land  was  heathen  for  nearly  one  hundred  winters  "  (Laiid- 
mima,  v.,  c.  15). 

Sigurd  Thorisson,  when  a  heathen,  was  accustomed  to  keep 
the  three  feasts  held  during  the  year  ;  he  afterwards  adapted 
them  to  the  new  religion,  which  was  destined  finally  to  oust 

"  When  he  became  a  Christian  he  continued  his  custom  with 
the  feasts.  He  then  had  in  the  autumn  a  great  feast  for  his 
friends,  and  a  Yule-feast  in  the  winter,  and  still  invited  many 
people  ;  the  third  feast  he  had  at  Easter-time  (Pdskar),  and  then 
also  invited  many.  This  he  continued  while  he  lived"  (St. 
Olaf  s  Saga,  123). 

But  the  struggle  continued  for  some  time,  for  the  people 
were  loth  to  abandon  the  ancient  faith,  and  Hakon  was  obliged, 
as  king,  to  assist  at  the  sacrificial  feast  at  the  temple  at  Hladir. 
Sigurd  jarl  on  one  occasion  dedicated  the  first  toast  to  Odin, 
and  the  king  drank  out  of  the  horn,  first  making  the  sign  of 
the  cross  over  it.  One. of  those  present  who  watched  him  saw 
this,  which  displeased  him  very  much  ;  whereupon  we  see  by 
the  answer  of  Sigurd  that  he  tried  to  make  the  people  believe 
that  it  was  Thor's  sign,  from  which  we  must  conclude  that  the 
two  signs  were  very  much  alike. 

The  following  day  the  bcendr,  who  wanted  the  king  to  observe 
the  tenets  of  the  ancient  belief,  wished  him  to  eat  horse- 
flesh, then  to  drink  the  gravy,  and  finally  to  eat  the  fat ;  but 
as  he  would  do  none  of  these,  he  had  to  "  open  his  mouth  over 
the  handle  of  the  kettle."  At  the  Frostathing,  Hakon  made 
a  speech,  wherein  he  said  he  wanted  the  people  to  be  Christians 
and  keep  Sundays,  which  the  boandr  did  not  like.  Asbjorn,  a 
powerful  bondi,  answered  thus  :— 

" '  When  thou  didst  hold  a  Tiling  the  first  time  in  Thrand- 
heim,  and  we  had  taken  thee  for  king  and  got  our  odals,  we 
thought  we  had  grasped  heaven  with  our  hands;  now  we  do  not 

VOL.  i.  2  H 


know  whether  we  have  become  free,  or  thou  wilt  make  us  thralls 
again  in  a  curious  manner,  as  thou  wantest  us  to  scorn  the 
belief  which  our  fathers  and  forefathers  had  before,  lirst  in  the 
burning  age  and  now  in  the  mound  age ;  many  of  them  have 
been  much  more  eminent  than  we,  but  nevertheless  this  belief 
has  been  good  for  us.  We  have  loved  thee  highly,  so  that  we 
have  given  thee  with  us  the  rule  of  all  laws  and  land-rights. 
Now  it  is  our  will  and  decision  to  have  and  keep  the  laws  which 
thou  didst  establish  at  the  Frostathing,  and  to  which  we  then 
consented  ;  we  will  all  follow  thee  and  hold  up  thy  kingship 
while  any  of  the  bcendr  here  at  this  Tiling  are  alive,  if  thou, 
king,  wilt  show  moderation  and  ask  of  us  only  what  we  can 
grant  thee,  and  what  is  not  unfeasible.  But  if  thou  wilt  go  so 
far  in  this  matter  as  to  deal  with  us  by  force  and  overbearing, 
we  have  all  of  us  determined  to  part  from  thee,  and  take 
another  chief,  that  we  may  be  free  to  hold  the  belief  we  wish 
to  have ;  now  thou  shalt  make  thy  choice,  king,  before  the 
Tiling  is  closed.'  The  boendr  cheered  this  speech  much,  and 
said  they  wanted  to  have  it  as  Asbjorn  said ;  it  was  a  loud 
noise.  Sigurd  jarl  said,  when  he  got  a  hearing  :  '  It  is  the 
will  of  King  Hakon  to  assent  to  all  that  the  boendr  want, 
and  never  to  part  from  your  friendship.'  The  boendr  said 
they  wanted  the  king  to  sacrifice  for  good  seasons  and  peace, 
as  his  father  did.  The  grumbling  ceased,  and  they  closed  the 
Tiling.  Thereupon  Sigurd  spoke  to  the  king,  and  told  him  not 
to  flatly  refuse  the  wish  of  the  boendr,  and  that  it  would  not 
do  to  act  otherwise,  'for,  as  you  have  heard,  it  is  the  strong 
will  of  the  chiefs  and  all  the  people  ;  but  I  will  find  some  way 
out  of  the  difficulty.'  The  king  assented  to  this 

"  In  the  autumn  during  the  winter-nights  there  was  a  large 
sacrificing-feast  at  Hladir,  and  thither  came  King  Hakon.  He 
had  been  accustomed  when  he  was  present  at  sacrifices  to  take 
his  meals  in  a  small  house  with  few  men.  The  bcendr  complained 
that  he  did  not  sit  in  his  high-seat  at  such  a  great  feast ;  the  jarl 
told  him  to  do  it,  and  he  did  it.  When  the  first  horn  was 
filled,  Sigurd  jarl  spoke  and  consecrated  it  to  Odin  ;  he  drank 
from  it  to  the  king ;  the  king  took  it  and  made  a  sign  of 
the  cross  over  it ;  then  a  man  called  Kar  of  Gryting  said  : 
'  Why  does  the  king  behave  thus  ?  Will  he  no  longer  worship  l 
the  gods  ? '  Sigurd  jarl  answered :  *  The  king  acts  like  all 
others  who  believe  in  their  own  strength  and  might ;  he  signs 
his  cups  to  Thor  ;  he  made  a  hammer-sign  over  it  before  he 
drank  it.' 2  That  evening  all  was  quiet.  Next  day  when  they 
sat  down  at  the  tables  the  boendr  crowded  towards  the  king  and 

1  Sacrifice  to. 

2  This    passage    seems    to  imply  that 

those  who  believed  in  their  own  strength 
only  made  the  sign  of  Thor. 


asked  him  to  eat  flesh  (horseflesh,  another  text)  ;  the  king 
would  l>y  no  means  do  it.  Then  they  asked  him  to  drink  the 
broth,  which  he  would  not.  Then  they  asked  him  to  eat  the 
grease  [fat  of  the  soup  ;  another  text,  the  blood],  and  he  would 
not.  Thereupon  they  were  going  to  attack  him.  Sigurd  tried 
to  reconcile  them,  and  asked  the  bcendr  to  stop  the  tumult ; 
he  said  the  king  was  going  to  open  his  mouth  over  tin- 
handle  of  the  kettle  where  the  steam  of  the  horseflesh-broth 
had  made  it  greasy.  The  king  went  to  it  and  wrapped  a  linen 
cloth  round  the  handle,  and  opened  his  mouth  over  it.  Then 
he  went  to  his  seat,  and  none  of  them,  bcendr  or  king,  liked 
it  well  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  i.,  c.  22,  23). 

"  King  Olaf  went  with  his  men  after  Yule  to  Thrandheim. 
Kjartan,  Bolli  and  Halfred  Ottarsson  were  with  him,  and  many 
Icelanders ;  and  he  had  a  large  and  fine  host.  When  he  came 
to  Mceri  those  chiefs  of  the  Thrands  who  were  most  opposed  to 
Christianity  were  there,  and  with  them  all  the  great  bcendr  who 
had  before  been  accustomed  to  keep  up  the  sacrifices  there  ;  a 
great  crowd  was  present,  and,  as  had  been  agreed  upon  at  the 
Frostathing,  a  Thin;/  was  summoned,  and  both  parties  went 
fully  armed  to  it.  At  first  there  was  noise  and  tumult ;  but 
when  it  subsided,  and  a  hearing  could  be  got,  King  Olaf  bade 
the  bcendr  be  christianized,  as  he  had  done  before.  Jarn- 
skeggi  (Iron-beard)  answered  on  behalf  of  the  bcendr  as  before, 
and  said  :  '  Now,  as  before,  king,  we  do  not  want  thee  to 
break  our  laws;  it  is  our  will,  king,  that  thou  sacrificest  like 
other  kings  have  done  here  in  the  country  before  thee  and 
other  chiefs  of  the  Thrands,  .Sigurd  Hlada  jarl,  and  Hakon  jarl 
(the  great),  who  before  t-hee  was  chief  over  the  greater  part  of 
this  country  ;  he  was  a  famous  man  on  account  of  his  wisdom 


and  bravery,  though  he  had  not  king's  name  ;  for  long  his 
rule  was  very  well  liked,  and  he  did  not  lose  it  through 
preaching  such  lawlessness  that  no  one  should  believe  in 
the  god  he  liked  ;  nor  did  his  father.  Hakon  Adalsteinst'ostri 
has  been  the  only  one  who  brought  this  forward ;  the  Thrands 
got  bitter  and  threatened  him  if  he  continued  this,  and  after 
the  persuading  of  Sigurd  jarl  and  other  friends  of  •  his  he 
thought  right  to  give  in  to  the  bcendr  ;  the  only  thing  that  will 
do  for  thee  is  to  act  as  we  told  thee  before  this  winter,  for  we 
have  not  changed  our  mind  since  about  the  belief.'  The  Ixenclr 
cheered  loudly  the  speech  of  Skeggi,  and  said  they  wanted  it 
all  to  be  as  he  had  said.  Then  the  king  said  :  '  I  will  do  as  we 
agreed  to  at  the  Thing  of  Frosta  ;  I  will  now  enter  the  temple, 
and  see  your  proceedings  and  the  preparing  of  the  sacrifice.' 
The  bcendr  were  well  pleased,  and  went  to  the  temple.  The 
king  went  in  with  a  few  of  his  men  a»d  some  of  the  bcendr.  All 

2  H  2 


who  went  in  were  unarmed  ;  the  king  had  a  gold  ornamented 
staff  in  his  hand.  When  they  came  into  the  temple  there  was 
no  lack  of  idols.  Thor  sat  in  the  middle,  and  was  most  wor- 
shipped ;  he  was  tall,  and  ornamented  all  over  with  gold  and 
silver.  The  king  raised  the  staff  and  struck  Thor  so  that  he  fell 
down  from  the  altar  and  was  broken  ;  then  the  king's  men  who 
had  entered  rushed  forward  and  knocked  down  all  the  gods  from 
their  altars.  While  they  were  in,  Jarnskeggi  was  slain  outside 
the  door  of  the  temple  by  the  king's  men  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur, 
c.  166,  167). 

It  was  so  difficult  to  make  any  progress  in  christianizing 
the  people,  that  they  were  for  a  time  allowed  to  perform  their 
rites  secretly.  The  bo3ndr  were  little  satisfied  with  the  religious 
belief  of  their  king.  The  eight  chiefs  who  superintended  the 
sacrifices  (probably  from  the  eight  fylkis  of  the  Thrandheim 
district)  united  to  exterminate  the  Christian  religion. 

"  These  eight  men  who  ruled  over  the  sacrifice  made  an 
agreement  that  the  four  chiefs  from  outer  Trandheim  should 
overthrow  Christianity,  and  the  four  from  inner  Thrandheim 
should  force  the  king  to  sacrifice  "  (Hakon  the  Good's  Saga, 
c.  19). 

"  Gunnhild's  sons  had  embraced  Christianity  in  England,  but 
when  they  began  to  rule  in  Norway  they  could  not  make  any 
progress  in  christianising  the  people ;  but  wherever  they  could 
they  tore  down  the  temples  and  spoiled  the  sacrifices,  and  thus 
became  very  much  disliked  by  the  people.  The  good  years 
also  soon  ceased  in  the  land.  The  kings  were  many,  and  each 
had  his  bird  around  him,  and  therefore  spent  much  and  were 
greedy  of  property ;  so  they  did  not  well  observe  the  laws 
established  by  King  Hakon.  They  were  handsome  men,  large 
and  strong,  and  great  men  of  idrottir  "  l  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  1). 

"  Thorbjorn  Ongul  (hook)  had  a  foster-mother,  Thurid ;  she 
was  very  old,  and  people  thought  her  good  for  little.  In 
heathen  times  when  she  was  young,  she  had  been  very  skilled 
in  witchcraft,  but  she  appeared  to  have  forgotten  all  this. 
Although  Christianity  prevailed  in  the  land,  there  were  many 
traces  of  heathendom  left.  It  had  been  the  law  of  the  land 
that  it  was  not  forbidden  to  sacrifice  secretly  or  perform  other 
old  customs,  but  if  it  was  discovered  it  was  to  be  punished  by 
lesser  outlawry  "  (Gretti's  Saga,  c.  80). 

The  following  passage  shows  how  firmly  rooted  amongst  the 

1   Athletic  and  mental  exercises.     See  vo!.  ii.,  p.  369. 


people  was  the  belief  in  the  power  of  Thor,  the  sight  of  whose 
image  was  alone  sufficient,  in  their  minds,  to  make  the  God 
of  the  Christians  vanish  before  it,  and  how  hard  was  the  struggle 
when  they  had  to  give  up  that  belief. 

"  Olaf  had  all  the  most  prominent  men  there  (in  Upplond) 
taken,  both  in  Lesjar  and  in  Dofrar,  and  they  were  forced  to 
accept  Christianity  or  suffer  death,  or,  if  able,  flee  away. 
Those  who  received  Christianity  gave  into  the  hands  of  the 
king  their  sons  as  hostages  and  pledges  of  their  faith.  The 
king  stayed  overnight  at  Boear  in  Lesjar,  and  left  priests 
there.  Then  he  went  through  Lorodal  and  came  to  Stafa- 
brekka.  The  river  Otta  runs  through  the  valley,  and  the  fine 
district  on  both  sides  is  called  Loar.  The  king  could  look 
over  the  whole  length  of  the  district.  '  It  is  a  pity  that  we 
must  burn  a  district  so  fine,'  said  the  king.  He  came  down 
into  the  valley  with  his  men,  and  they  stayed  overnight  at 
the  farm  Nes,  and  the  king  chose  a  loft  as  his  sleeping- 
room,  which  is  there  still  (Snorri's  time)  and  has  not  been 
changed  since.  He  stayed  there  five  nights,  and  cut  a  Thing- 
summons,  summoning  men  from  Vagar,  Loar,  and  Hedal, 
and  at  the  same  time  let  them  know  that  they  should  either 
fight  battles  against  him  and  suffer  from  his  ravages,  or  accept 
Christianity,  and  bring  him  their  sons  as  hostages.  There- 
after they  came  to  him  and  obeyed,  but  some  fled  south  to 

"  Dala-Gudbrand  was  the  name  of  a  man  who  ruled  like  a 
king  over  the  Dalir,  and  was  Hersir  by  title.  Sigvat  Scald 
compared  him  in  regard  to  power  and  large  possessions 
to  Erling  Skjalgsson.  Gudbrand  had  a  son  who  is  mentioned 
here.  When  he  heard  that  King  Olaf  had  come  to  Loar  and 
forced  men  to  accept  Christianity  he  cut  a  war  arrow  and 
summoned  all  the  men  of  Dalir  to  the  farm  Huudthorp  to 
meet  him.  They  all  came,  and  it  was  a  multitude  of  men, 
because  the  lake  Log  lies  near  there,  and  they  could  come 
as  well  by  water  as  by  land.  Gudbrand  held  a  Thing,  and 
said  :  '  A  man,  by  name  Olaf,  has  come  to  Loar,  and  wants  us 
to  take  a  new  belief  and  break  all  our  gods  asunder,  and  says 
he  himself  has  a  much  greater  and  mightier  god.  It  is  a 
wonder  that  the  earth  does  not  burst  asunder  under  him  when 
he  dares  speak  such  things,  or  that  our  gods  allow  him  to  live 
any  longer.  I  expect  if  we  carry  Thor  out  of  our  temple  at  the 
beer  where  he  is,  and  if  he  looks  on  Olaf  and  his  men,  Olaf's 
god  and  himself  and  his  men  will  melt  and  vanish,  for  this 
has  always  helped  us.'  They  all  shouted  at  once  that  Olaf 


should  never  escape  thence  if  he  came  to  them,  and  they  said 
he  would  not  dare  to  advance  farther  south  in  the  Dalir. 
They  sent  seven  hundred  men  north  to  Breida  to  spy,  with 
the  son  of  Gudbrand,  eighteen  winters  old,  as  leader,  and 
many  other  prominent  men.  These  men  came  to  the  farm 
Hof  and  remained  there  three  nights,  and  many  who  had  fled 
from  Lesjar  and  Loar  and  Vagar,  unwilling  to  adopt  Christianity, 
joined  them  there.  King  Olaf  and  Sigurd,  the  bishop,  left 
teachers  in  Loar  and  Vagar. 

"  The  king  went  to  the  boendr  and  held  the  Thing  with 
them.  The  day  was  very  wet.  When  the  Thing  was  opened 
the  king  rose  and  told  them  that  the  men  of  Lesjar,  Loar 
and  Vagar  had  accepted  Christianity  and  torn  down  their 
sacrih'cing-houses,  and  now  believed  in  the  true  God.  who 
shaped  heaven  and  earth  and  knew  all  things.  The  king 
sat  down,  and  Gudbrand  answered  :  '  We  do  not  know  about 
whom  thou  art  talking ;  dost  thou  call  him  God  whom 
neither  thou  nor  any  other  can  see  ?  We  have  a  god  whom 
we  may  see  every  day,  but  he  is  not  out  to-day  because  the 
weather  is  wet.  He  will  look  terrible  and  great  to  you  I 
expect  that  fear  will  creep  into  your  breasts  if  he  comes  to  the 
Thing.  But  as  thou  sayest  that  thy  God  is  so  powerful,  then 
let  him  make  the  weather  to-morrow  cloudy,  with  no  rain,  and 
we  will  meet  here.'  Thereupon  the  king  went  home  to  his 
room,  and  with  him  Gudbrand's  son  as  a  hostage,  while 
the  king  gave  them  another  man  in  his  place.  In  the 
evening  the  king  asked  Gudbrand's  son  how  their  god  was 
made.  He  answered  he  was  made  after  Thor  (his  likeness)  ; 
had  a  hammer  in  his  hand;  was  of  a  large  size,  and  hollow 
inside ;  that  a  platform  was  made  under  him,  on  which 
he  stood  when  outside  the  temple ;  that  he  did  not  lack  gold 
and  silver  on  him :  that  four  loaves  of  bread  were  brought  to 
him  every  day,  and  as  much  meat.  Then  they  went  to  bed. 
But  the  king  was  awake  all  that  night  and  prayed.  When 
it  was  day  he  went  to  mass,  then  to  his  meal,  and  then  to  the 
Thing.  The  weather  was  as  Gudbrand  had  said.  The  bishop 
rose  in  his  gown  with  a  mitre  on  his  head  and  a  crozier  in 
his  hand,  and  preached  to  the  Ixendr  and  told  them  many 
tokens  which  God  had  shown,  and  ended  his  speech  well. 
Thord  Istrumagi  (paunch-belly)  answered  :  '  This  horned  man 
with  a  staff  in  his  hand  with  a  top  like  a  crooked  ram's  horn 
talks  much.  As  you,  comrades,  say  that  your  god  works  so 
many  tokens,  then  ask  him  to-morrow  before  sunrise  to  let 
the  weather  be  bright  and  sunny,  then  we  will  meet  and  do 
one  of  two  things — agree  on  this  matter,  or  light  a  battle.' 
They  parted  for  a  time. 

X  IH-:STROYS  AN  IDOL.  471 

"  Kolbein  the  Strong,  who  was  with  King  Olaf,  bad  his  kins- 
men in  the  Fjords.  He  was  always  so  dressed  that  he  was 
girt  with  a  sword,  and  had  a  large  stick  in  his  hand 
which  some  call  'club.'  The  king  told  him  that  he  should 
stand  next  him  that  morning,  and  then  said  to  his  men : 
•Go  this  night  to  the  boats  of  the  bcendr  and  bore  holes 
in  all  of  them,  and  take  away  their  horses  from  the  farms 
where  they  are  and  ride  on  them.  This  was  done.  The  king 
stayed  all  night  at  the  farm,  and  prayed  (.rod  to  clear  this 
difficulty  with  His  mercy  and  grace.  After  the  matins,  about 
daybreak,  he  went  to  the  Thing.  When  he  came  some  of  the 
bcendr  had  arrived.  They  saw  a  large  crowd  of  bcendr  coming 
to  the  Tiling,  carrying  a  large  image,  ornamented  all 
over  with  gold  and  silver.  When  the  bcendr  present  saw  it, 
they  all  rushed  up  and  bowed  to  the  monster.  Then  it  was 
placed  on  the  middle  of  the  Thing-plain.  On  one  side  sat  the 
bcendr,  on  the  .other  the  king  and  his  men.  Then  Dala- 
Gudbrand  rose  and  said  :  '  Where  is  your  god  now,  king  ;  1 
think  he  now  carries  his  chin  rather  low.  It  seems  to  me 
that  your  boasting,  and  that  of  the  horned  man  whom 
you  call  bishop,  sitting  at  your  side,  is  less  than  yester- 
day. It  is  because  our  god,  who  rules  all,  has  come,  and  looks 
on  you  with  keen  eyes ;  and  I  see  that  you  are  full  of  terror 
now,  and  dare  scarcely  look  up  with  your  eyes.  Now  throw 
off  your  superstition  and  believe  in  our  god,  who  has 
you  altogether  in  his  power.'  He  ended  his  speech.  The 
king  said  to  Kolbein  the  Strong,  so  that  the  bcendr  did 
not  hear :  '  If  during  my  speech  it  happens  that  they  look 
away  from  their  god,  then  strike  him  as  hard  a  blow 
as  thou  art  able  with  the  club.'  Then  he  rose  and  said  : 
'  Many  things  hast  thou  (Gudbrand)  spoken  to  us  this  morn- 
ing ;  thou  wonderest  that  thou  art  not  able  to  see  our  God,  but 
we  expect  He  will  soon  come  to  us.  Thou  dost  threaten  us 
with  thy  god,  who  is  blind  and  deaf,  and  can  neither  help 
himself  nor  others,  and  can  move  nowhere  from  his  place 
unless  he  is  carried :  I  expect  that  in  a  short  time  evil 
will  happen  to  him.  Now  look  into  the  east;  there  conies  our 
God  with  great  light.'  The  sun  was  rising,  and  all  the  bcendr 
looked  towards  it.  At  the  same  moment  Kolbein  struck  their 
god  so  that  he  burst  all  asunder,  and  mice  large  as  cats,  and 
vipers  and  worms,  ran  out.  The  bcendr  were  so  frightened  that 
they  fled,  some  to  their  ships  ;  but  when  they  launched  them  they 
were  filled  with  water,  and  they  could  not  get  on  them.  Those 
who  ran  to  their  horses  found  them  not.  The  king  had  them 
called  to  him,  and  said  he  wished  to  speak  with  them,  and 
they  came  back  to  the  Thing.  Then  the  king  rose  and  said : 


( I  do  not  know  why  you  make  this  tumult  and  uproar ;  now 
you  can  see  what  power  your  god  had  to  whom  you  brought 
gold  and  silver,  food  and  provisions ;  you  saw  what  beings 
had  eaten  him,  mice  and  worms,  vipers  and  adders.  Those 
who  believe  in  such  things,  and  will  not  leave  off  their 
folly,  are  the  worse  for  it.  Take  your  gold  and  costly 
things  scattered  on  the  plain ;  bring  them  home  to  your 
wives,  and  never  hereafter  ornament  tree  or  stones  with  them. 
Now  here  are  two  choices :  either  you  accept  Christianity  now, 
or  fight  a  battle  against  me  to-day,  and  may  those  get  the 
victory  whom  the  God  in  whom  we  believe  wills.'  Dala- 
Gudbrand  rose  and  said  :  '  A  great  loss  have  we  suffered  in  our 
god,  but  as  he  could  not  help  us  we  will  BOW  believe  in  the 
God  in  whom,  thou  believest.'  They  all  accepted  Christianity, 
and  the  bishop  baptized  Gudbrand  and  his  son.  King  Olal 
and  Sigurd  the  bishop  left  teachers  there ;  and  those  who 
were  foes  parted  as  friends,  and  Gudbrand  had  a  church  made 
in  the  Dalir  "  (St.  Olaf,  Heirnskringla,  117-119). 

But  even  in  early  times,  before  Christianity  had  made  any 
advance  among  the  Northmen,  there  were  sceptics  such  as 
Hrolf  Kraki,  Orvar  Odd,  and  others,  who  had  little  or  no 
belief.  Examples  are  given  in  the  Sagas  of  others  in  later 
times,  when  Christianity  had  gained  a  looting  in  the  country, 
who  also  had  no  belief.  When  King  Olaf  Tryggvason  asked 
Eindridi  what  was  his  religious  belief,  the  latter  answered  :— 

" '  I  have  made  up  my  mind  never  to  believe  in  logs  or  stones, 
though  they  be  in  the  shape  of  fiend  or  man,  whose  power  I 
don't  understand  ;  and  though  I  have  been  told  that  they 
have  great  power,  it  seems  to  me  very  unlikely,  for  I  find  that 
those  images  which  are  called  gods  are  in  every  way  uglier 
and  less  powerful  than  myself.'  The  king  asked :  '  Why  dost 
thou  then  not  believe  in  the  true  God,  who  is  all  powerful, 
and  let  thyself  be  baptized  in  his  name  ?  '  '  Because,'  Eindridi 
replied,  '  it  has  never  before  been  put  before  me,  and  no  one 
on  your  behalf  has  told  me  about  this  God,  whom  you  call 
almighty ;  but  another  more  important  reason  is  that,  as  I 
would  not  believe  what  my  father  and  kinsmen  told  me  about 
their  gods,  I  have  decided  never  to  hold  that  belief  which  is 
in  every  way  so  unlike  theirs,  unless  I  am  fully  convinced  that 
your  God  is  as  almighty  as  you  call  him  '  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur). 

When  Christianity  predominated  among  the  people,  we 
find  that  sacrifices  and  worship  of  heathen  gods  were  for- 


"  When  Haralcl  G-ormsson  the  Dana  king  had  become  a 
Christian,  he  sent  an  order  throughout  his  realm  that  all  the 
people  should  get  baptized  and  be  converted  to  the  true  faith. 
He  went  round  himself,  and  punished  and  forced  those  who  were 
unwilling.  He  sent  two  jarls  to  Norway  with  many  men  to  preach 
Christianity  there ;  their  names  were  Urguthrjot  and  Brimis- 
skjar.  Many  people  were  baptized  in  the  Vikin  which  belong' •<  I 
to  King  Harald.  After  Harald's  death  his  son  Svein  Tjiigu- 
skegg  (forked  beard)  soon  went  on  an  expedition  to  Saxland 
and  Frisland,  and  later  to  England.  The  Northmen  who  had 
adopted  Christianity  turned  again  to  their  sacrifices  as  before, 
like  the  people  did  in  the  northern  part  of  the  country 
(Norway).  Olaf  Tryggvason  said  he  would  christianize  the 
whole  of  Norway  or  lose  his  life.  '  I  will  make  you  all  great 
and  powerful  men,  for  I  trust  you  best  for  the  sake  of  kinship 
and  other  relationship.'  They  all  consented  to  do  whatever  he 
commanded,  and  follow  him  in  all  that  he  wished,  with  all  those 
who  would  take  their  advice.  Then  Olaf  made  known  to  the 
people  that  he  would  preach  Christianity  to  all  men  in  his 
realm  "  (Olaf  Tryggvason,  Heimskringla,  c.  59). 

"Blot  (worship  by  sacrifice)  is  forbidden  to  us— we  shall 
neither  worship  heathen  voettir  (guardian  spirits),  nor  gods,  nor 
mounds  (hangar),  nor  altars  (horgs).  If  a  man  is  known  and 
convicted  of  secretly  throwing  up  a  mound,  or  making  a  house 
and  calling  it  horg,  or  raising  a  pole  and  calling  it  skdldstong 
(i.e.,  imprecation-pole),  he  shall  thereby  forfeit  every  penny  of 
his  property  "  (King  Sverri's  Kristinrett).1 

It  is  curious  to  see  how  Christian  ideas  were  transformed. 
The  poet  Eilif  Gudrunarson  says  of  Christ,  that  he  is  "  strong 
against  the  Jotnar"  ;  he  was  possibly  thinking  of  Thor.  Hal- 
i'red  says  the  Christian  dogmas  are  not  more  poetical  than  the 
old  belief. 

In  a  fragment  of  a  song  on  Christ,  the  poet  Eilif  Gudruuar- 
son  says  that  Christ  sits  at  the  well  of  Urd  (Later  Edda, 
Skaldskaparmal,  52)— 

"  Men  say  he  (Christ)  sits  on  a  rock          Has  strengthened  himself  with  the 
South  at  the  well  of  Urd.  lands  of  Rome." 

Thus  the  mighty  lord  of  the  gods 

It  appears  that  the  eating  of  horseflesh  was  forbidden  by 
the  early  Christians.  The  Emperor  Otto  having  consulted  his 

1  Cf.  also  Gulathing's  Law,  c.  29. 


chiefs  as  to  what  steps  should  be  taken  to  provide  provisions 
for  the  army,  when  fighting  against  the  Danes  south  of  Dana- 
virki,  was  advised  by  them  either  to  withdraw  from  the 
country,  or  slay  some  of  the  horses  for  food.  To  this  the 
Emperor  replied  :— 

"  To  this  advice  there  is  a  great  drawback,  for  it  is  the 
greatest  sacrilege  for  baptized  men  who  can  in  any  other 
manner  prolong  their  lives  to  eat  horseflesh  "  (Olaf  Trygg- 
vason,  Fornmanna  Sogur,  c.  1). 

The  Halfred's  Saga,  which  relates  how  Halfred,  who  had 
been  baptized,  was  for  some  time  with  the  King,  Olaf  Tryggva- 
son,  and  asked  him  to  hear  a  song,  which  at  first  the  king 
declined  to  hear,  as  too  heathen  for  him,  shows  how  hard  was 
the  struggle  with  some  men  to  entirely  give  up  the  old  faith. 

"  Of  yore  I  worshipped  well  Lord  of  Hlidskjalf  (Odin) ; 

Him  the  bold-minded  The  luck  of  men  changes." 

The  king  said  :  "  This  is  a  very  bad  stanza ;  thou  must 
improve  it." 

"  Every  kindred  has  made  songs  But  because  I  serve  Christ 

To  win  the  love  of  Odin  ;  I  must  hate  against  my  will 

I  remember  the  songs  The  first  husband  of  Frigg  (Odin), 

Of  the  men  of  our  time,  For  his  power  I  liked  well." 

The  king  replied  :  "  The  gods  dwell  much  in  thy  mind,  and  I 
do  not  like  it." 

"  Enricher  of  men,  I  forsake  Who  in  heathendom  performed 

The  god-name  of  the  raven-worshipper       A  trick  praised  by  the  people."1 

"  This  makes  it  no  better ;  make  a  stanza  to  mend  this." 

"  Frey  and  Freyja  and  the  strong  Thor  I  will  call  on  Christ,  for  all  love 

Ought  to  be  angry  with  me  ;  The  only  Father  and  God  ; 

I  forsake  the  offspring  of  Njord.2  The  anger  of  the  Son  I  dislike, 

The  angry  (gods)  may  be  friends  with  He  is  the  famous  ruler  of  earth." 
Grimuir  (Odin) ; 

"  This  is  a  good  song,  and  better  than  none ;  sing  more." 

1  This    refers    to    stealing    the    mead.    |       -   Frey  and  Freyja. 


"  It  is  the  custom  with  the  Sygna  All  men  throw 

king1  The  kindred  of  Odin  to  the  winds ; 

To  forbid  sacrifices  ;  Now  I  am  forced  to  pray  to  Christ 

We  must  shun  most  of  And  leave  the  offspring  of  Njord." 
The  time-honoured  dooms  of  the 

jfornir ;  (Halfred's  Saga,  c.  (i.) 

That  conversion  to  Christianity  did  not  always  at  first  have  a 
softening  influence  over  the  character  of  its  converts  is  to  be 
seen  from  the  following  passages  :— 

"  The  great  Hakon  jarl  was  a  zealous  sacrifice!.  When 
he  came  to  Vikin  he  found  that  the  (Emperor  Otto's)  jarls 
Urguthrjot  and  Brimisskjar  had  broken  down  the  temples  and 
christianized  all  the  people  they  could.  Hakon  had  all  the 
broken  temples  rebuilt,  and  sent  word  all  over  Vikin  that  no 
man  should  believe  in  the  faith  which  the  jarls  had  imposed. 
He  went  northward  across  the  land  to  Thrandheim,  and  there 
first  remained  quiet.  He  ruled  over  the  whole  of  Norway,  but 
never  afterwards  paid  any  taxes  to  the  King  of  Denmark. 
Afterwards  he  was  in  all  things  worse  and  more  heathen  than 
he  had  been  before  he  was  baptized"  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  vol.  i., 
ch.  73). 

"  Hakon  was  open-handed  with  property  toward  his  men,  and 
for  a  long  time  beloved  by  the  whole  people;  but  he  had  the 
greatest  misfortune  to  his  dying  day,  which  was  not  strange,  for 
he  was  always  guileful,  unfaithful  and  treacherous,  both  to 
friends  and  foes,  and  the  greatest  god-niihing  and  sacrificing 
man  :  the  time  had  come  when  Almighty  God  had  intended  that 
the  sacrifices  and  heathendom,  and  the  evil  messenger  of  the 
devil,  Hakon  jarl,  should  be  condemned,  and  the  holy  faith  and 
true  customs  take  their  place.  When  Hakon  was  slain,  he 
had  been  Jarl  thirty-three  winters  since  the  fall  of  his  father, 
Sigurd  Jarl ;  he  was  twenty-five  when  his  father  fell,  and 
lacked  two  winters  of  sixty  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  i.,  c.  104). 

"  'Now,  Sigurd,  thou  hast  jarlship  over  this  realm,  which  I  call 
my  own,  as  well  as  all  other  realms,  which  King  Harald  Fairhair 
owned,  and  each  of  his  descendants  have  inherited  one  after 
the  other.  As  it  has  happened  that  thou  hast  come  into  my 
power,  thou  hast  two  choices :  the  first  is  that  thou  and  all 
thy  dependents  shall  embrace  the  true  faith  and  be  baptized, 
and  then  thou  shalt  hold  from  me  the  rule  thou  hast  hereto- 
fore, and  what  is  worth  more,  live  with  Almighty  God 
eternally  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  if  thou  observest  His 
commands.  The  other  choice  is  very  bad,  and  very  unlike 

1  Olaf  Tryggvasun. 


the  former :  that  thou  shalt  die  in  this  place,  and  I  will 
go  with  fire  and  sword  over  the  islands  and  lay  waste 
this  whole  realm,  unless  the  people  will  believe  in  the 
true  God ;  and,  if  thou  shalt  make  this  choice,  then  thou  wilt, 
as  all  others  who  believe  in  a  skurdgod  (carved  god,  idol),  after  a 
sudden  death,  suffer  terribly  with  the  fiend  in  the  flames  of  hell 
without  end.'  As  the  Jarl  was  then  situated,  he  chose  to 
embrace  the  true  faith. 

"  The  Jarl  and  all  his  men  were  therefore  baptized.  There- 
upon he  became  King  Olafs  man,  and  bound  this  with  oath. 
Sigurd  Jarl  then  took  the  country  as  fief  from  the  king, 
and  gave  him  as  hostage  his  son  Hvelp  (whelp)  or  Hundi  (dog), 
whom  King  Olaf  had  baptized  with  the  name  Hlodver,  and 
taken  to  Norway.  Thereupon  King  Olaf  sailed  from  the 
Orkneys,  and  left  behind  learned  men  to  teach  the  people 
in  the  holy  faith.  The  king  and  the  jarl  then  separated  as 
friends  "  (St.  Olafs  Saga). 

The  later  accounts  of  the  struggle  between  the  two  creeds 
show  how  many  crimes  were  committed  avowedly  in  the  name 
of  conscience  and  religion,  but  really  in  that  of  superstition 
and  ignorance,  which  brings  with  it  bigotry,  vandalism  and 
murder,  the  curse  of  mankind ;  and  we  see  that  the  people  had 
a  dislike  to  the  adoption  of  Christian  names. 

"  He  (King  Olaf,  the  Saint)  had  Hrserek  blinded  in  both  eyes 
and  took  him  with  him  ;  he  had  the  tongue  of  Gudrod,  King  of 
Dalir,  cut  out ;  Hring  and  two  others  he  forced  to  give  oaths 
that  they  would  leave  Norway  and  never  come  back  "  (St.  Olaf, 
Heirnskringla,  c.  74). 

"  Olaf  Tryggvason  and  Bishop  Sigurd  both  went  with  many 
warships  to  Godey  (god-isle),  where  Baud  the  Strong,  a  man 
of  sacrifices,  lived.  Olaf  attacked  the  loft  where  Baud  slept, 
and  broke  it  and  went  in.  Baud  was  taken  and  tied,  and  of 
the  men  in  there  some  were  killed  and  others  taken.  Baud 
was  led  before  the  king,  who  bade  him  let  himself  be 
baptized  ;  '  then,'  said  the  king,  '  I  will  not  take  thy  property, 
but  be  thy  friend  if  thou  wilt  do  this.'  Baud  cried  out 
against  this,  and  said  he  would  never  believe  in  Christ,  and 
blasphemed  much.  The  king  grew  angry,  and  said  Baud 
should  die  the  most  hideous  death.  He  had  him  taken  out 
and  lashed  to  a  beam,  a  stick  was  placed  between  his  teeth  to 
force  open  his  mouth,  in  which  a  snake  was  placed  ;  but  it 
would  not  go  in,  and  recoiled,  because  he  blew  against  it. 
Then  the  king  had  a  stalk  of  angelica  put  in  Baud's  mouth  ; 


some  say  that  the  king  put  his  war-horn  into  his  mouth  with 
the  snake  in  it ;  he  had  a  red-hot  iron  bar  put  on  the  outside 
of  it.  The  snake  recoiled  into  the  mouth  of  Raud,  and  down  his 
throat,  and  ate  its  way  out  of  his  side,  and  Raud  died.  The 
king  took  thence  a  large  quantity  of  gold  and  silver  and  other 
loose  property,  weapons,  and  many  costly  things.  He  had 
slain  or  tortured  all  those  of  Rand's  men  who  would  not  be 
baptized  "  (Olaf  Tryggvason,  c.  87). 

"  Olaf  Sviaking  had  a  son  by  his  queen  who  was  born  on 
the  day  of  St.  James'  vigil ;  when  he  was  baptized  the  bishop 
called  "him  Jacob.  The  Sviar  disliked  that  name,  and  said 
that  never  had  a  Sviaking  been  called  Jacob "  (St.  Olaf, 
c.  89). 



Division  of  the  land — Supposed  origin  of  the  division — The  odal — How  land 
could  become  odal — Redemption  of  the  odal — Laws  in  regard  to  redemp- 
tion— Purchase  of  land  and  closing  of  the  bargain — Existence  of  lease- 
holds— Commons — Kights  of  common — Laws  regulating  commons. 

IN  old  Sweden  and  Norway,  and  no  doubt  all  over  the 
North,  the  land  was  divided  into  Herad  and  Fylki.  In 
Sweden  there  were  small  and  large  Herad ;  in  Norway  there 
•were  both  Herad  and  Fylki,  the  latter  probably  corresponding 
to  the  larger  Herad  in  Sweden. 

We  are  unable  to  find  how  and  when  such  division  of  land 
began  to  take  place  among  the  people  :  that  a  sudden  emigra- 
tion burst  upon  the  country  we  have  no  proof  whatever. 

The  word  her  ("  host ")  implies  a  certain  number  of  people 
or  families  coming  together  for  mutual  protection  or  otherwise, 
and  the  whole  was  called  host.  These  either  took  by  force  or 
settled  peacefully  upon  certain  tracts  of  land,  which  were  then 
called  Herad,  probably  on  account  of  being  the  land  of  the  her. 
In  the  course  of  time — perhaps  for  mutual  protection,  or  for 
some  other  reason  unknown  to  us — those  Herad  or  Fylki, 
though  entirely  independent  of  each  other  in  their  internal 
affairs,  were  united  together,  and  were  called  thjod,  or  veldi,  which 
means  a  nation  made  up  of  different  Fylki  and  Herad.  So  the 
land  of  the  Swedes  was  called  Svi-thjod,  or  Svia- veldi:  and  that 
of  the  Danes  and  Norwegians,  Dana- veldi  and  Noregs- veldi. 

A  man  who  settled  upon  a  Herad  without  lawful  right  could 
be  summarily  ousted  without  resorting  to  legal  remedies. 

Thormod  and  Thorgeir  made  themselves  obnoxious  to  the 
people  of  the  neighbourhood  by  their  wild  habits.  Those  who 
thought  themselves  wronged  by  them  went  to  Vermund  (chief 
of  the  Herad),  and  laid  their  complaints  before  him.  Vermund 

HOW  TIII-:  i..\\n 

S  J)ivi]>i:i>. 


summoned  Havar  and  Bersi  (the  fathers  of  the  two  young  men) 
to  him,  and  told  them  that  the  people  Hisliked  their  sons. 

"'Thou,  Havar,'  he  said,  'art  a  man  not  belonging  to  the 
herad,  and  hast  settled  here  without  permission.  We  did  not 
object  to  thy  living  here  till  thy  son  Thorgeir  caused  dissen- 
sion ;  we  want  thee  to  break  up  thy  residence  and  depart  from 
Isafjord ;  but  Bersi  and  his  son  we  will  not  drive  away,  for 
they  are  heradsmen '  '  (Fostbroedra  Saga). 

Odal. — We  find  a  great  part  of  the  land  divided  into  Odal— 
i.e.,  the  title  to  which  was  absolute,  and  not  dependent  on  a 
superior — but  how  this  was  acquired  we  do  not  know.  The 
probability  is  that  in  the  beginning  of  the  migration  or  con- 
quest each  head  of  a  family  took,  or  had  allotted  to  him,  a 
certain  amount  of  land  as  odal — the  extent  of  land  being 
proportionate  to  the  size  of  his  family  or  to  his  rank.  Then 
the  settler  became  a  buandi  l  (a  dweller),  that  is,  of  the  Herad 
of  which  he  formed  an  integral  part.  The  word  bondi  is  still 
applied  in  Norway  to  odal  men,  who  own  farms  in  their  own 
name.  To  this  day  there  are  odal  farms  in  Sweden  and 
Norway  which  have  remained  in  the  same  family  almost  from 
time  immemorial ;  and  such  were  the  safeguards  in  olden  times 
against  alienation  of  land,  that  it  has  been  impossible  for  those 
estates  to  be  gradually  absorbed  into  the  hands  of  comparat- 
ively few  men,  as  has  been  unfortunately  done  in  some  other 
countries ;  and  as  no  conquerors  have  come  to  dispossess  the 
original  owners,  and  give  large  tracts  of  land  to  their  followers, 
the  land  in  many  parts  of  Scandinavia,  with  the  exception  of 
Denmark,  has  remained  much  divided  to  this  day.  Besides 
odal  there  was  ~kaup  land,  the  latter  being  freehold  land  that 
could  be  bought,  and  loose  property. 

The  Gulathing's  Law  enumerates  seven  ways  in  which  landed 
property  could  become  odal :  - 

"  1.  WThen  it  had  descended  through  four  generations  in 
unbroken  succession.  2.  When  the  land  had  been  given  as 
u-ereyild?  3.  When  it  had  been  got  by  so-called  brandert'L 

1  Buandi,  plural  buendr ;  bond!,  plural 
bcndr ;  boandi,  plural  bdendr.  These  are 
different  forms  of  the  same  name  ;  the 
transition  from  buandi  to  boandi  anil 
then  to  bondi  is  easily  traced.  The  form 

to-day  is  bonde.  The  original  meaning 
is  a  dweller;  the  verb  to  dwell  is  butt — 
bjd — buid. 

-  Indemnity,  see  p.  544. 

480  THE  LAND. 

4.  When  it  was  received  as  heidlaun  (fee-reward),  i.e.,  when, 
in  later  times,  it  was  given  by  a  king  to  his  servant  for  faithful 
services.  5.  At  a  later  period,  when  it  was  given  by  the 
king  as  drekkulaun  (drink-reward),  either  for  having  been  well 
entertained,  or  as  a  reward  for  nursing  the  king.  6.  When 
it  was  received  as  reward  for  fostering  a  child  (barnfostrlaun). 
7.  When  it  had  been  acquired  in  exchange  for  another  odal " 
(Gulathing's  Law,  270). 

"  The  inheritance  is  called  branderfd  if  a  man  receives 
another  to  keep  him  in  bad  and  good  circumstances,  and  feeds 
him  till  fire  and  pyre  (until  he  dies)  "  (Gulath.,  108). 

In  all  the  last  six  modes  of  acquiring  the  land,  it  is  of 
course  understood  that  the  land  must  have  been  the  odal  of 
the  grantor. 

The  odal  could  not  be  alienated  from  the  family,  and  if 
sold  to  any  one  outside  the  family,  the  latter  had  the  right  of 
redemption,  which  consisted  in  this :  that  in  case  the  land 
was  sold  to  a  stranger,  the  nearest  of  kin  had  the  right  to 
redeem  the  odal  from  the  new  owner  within  a  certain  time  and 
on  certain  conditions.  These  differed  in  the  different  laws. 
The  Gulathing's  Law,  which  most  extensively  treats  this  sub- 
ject, sets  as  a  rule  for  the  redemption,  that  it  could  be  made 
by  the  nearest  of  kin  after  lawful  notice,  on  payment  of  a 
sum  one-fifth  less  than  that  at  which  the  land  was  appraised 
by  arbitrators.  The  kinsman,  however,  in  order  to  keep  this 
rio-ht  open,  had  to  publicly  announce  it  at  the  Thing  under 
whose  jurisdiction  the  land  lay,  within  twenty  years  after  the 
sale,  so  that  twenty  years  should  never  be  allowed  to  pass 
between  two  announcements.  If  this  was  neglected,  the  next 
of  kin  had  not  thereby  lost  his  right  of  redemption,  but  he 
had  to  pay  the  full  value  of  the  land. 

"  If  the  land  lies  (is  in  possession  of  the  buyer)  for  twenty 
winters  and  no  notice  is  given,  full  value  must  be  paid  for  it " 
(Gulath.,  272). 

The  right  of  redemption  was  not  forfeited  until  the  land 
had  been  in  the  family  of  the  new  owner  for  the  period  of 
sixty  years  without  any  notice  of  redemption  having  been 


"  If  the  land  belongs  to  the  same  line  of  family  for  sixty 
years  or  more,  it  becomes  the  odal  of  the  owner,  so  that  no 
man  can  buy  it  from  him"  (N.  G.  L.,  ii.  93). 

"  If  there  are  two  brothers,  and  one  of  them  dies  before  his 
father  and  leaves  a  son,  then  he  shall  redeem  that  part  of  the 
odal  at  four-fifths  1  of  the  value  from  his  father's  brother.  But 
he  cannot  do  it  before  his  grandfather  is  dead  "  (Gulathino-'s 
Law,  294). 

"  When  the  redeemer  has  claimed  the  land  according  to  law, 
he  shall  carry  the  money  to  the  land  at  the  middle  of  the  fast 
on  the  morning  next  after  the  washing-day  (Saturday),  when 
three  weeks  of  the  fast  are  left.  He  shall  put  it  on  a  stone 
where  field  and  meadow  meet.  He  shall  speak  thus  :  '  Be  here 
on  the  land  Thursday  in  the  Easter-week,  and  take  the  value 
of  the  land,  as  much  as  it  is  valued  in  lawful  money.  I  will 
come  here  with  honest  men,  and  thou  shalt  have  as  many  here. 
They  shall  value  the  land  as  it  is  done  when  men  redeem  their 
odals.  The  half  of  the  money  shall  be  in  gold  and  silver,  and 
the  other  half  in  native  bondsmen  not  older  than  forty  and 
not  younger  than  fifteen  winters '  "  (Gulath.,  266). 

If  the  king  was  odalsman  (i.e.,  next  of  kin)  to  land  in  the 
possession  of  another,  then  the  redemption  was  to  take  place 
within  the  reigns  of  three  kings,  for  otherwise  the  right  of 
redemption  was  forfeited. 

"  If  land  falls  to  the  king  it  must  be  redeemed  from  his 
steward  who  has  the  survey  in  the  Fylki  in  which  the  land 
lies.  If  there  is  no  king's  steward  in  the  Fylki,  it  must  be 
redeemed  from  the  steward  who  is  next  in  rank  and  before  the 
lives  of  three  kings  are  gone.  If  the  land  is  not  redeemed 
before,  it  must  lie  where  it  is.  Though  three  kings  rule  the 
land  the  time  is  reckoned  as  the  life  of  one  king.  If  the  king 
wants  to  redeem  land  his  steward  shall  redeem  it  as  we  do 
among  ourselves.  He  must  have  redeemed  it  also  before  the 
lives  of  three  kings  are  gone,  else  it  lies  where  it  is.  Land 
cannot  be  redeemed  while  the  king  is  in  the  Fylki  in  which 
the  land  lies  "  (Gulath.,  271). 

"  The  land  of  no  man  can  become  odal  before  three  genera- 
tions have  owned  it  in  unbroken  succession  and  it  falls  to  the 
fourth  (as  inheritance)  "  (Frostath.,  xii.  4). 

1  The  Frostathing's  Law  says  nothing 
about  the  deduction  of  one-fifth  from  the 
appraised  value. 

A  new  law  enacted  that  the  odals- 
man,  in  order  to  keep  his  right  open, 

VOL.  I. 

should  make  the  usual  announcement 
every  tenth  year ;  and  the  king  was 
subject  to  the  same  regulations  as  other 



"  Land  becomes  the  odal  of  a  church  if  she  has  owned  it  for 
thirty  winters  "  (Frostath.,  xii.  4). 

The  land  was  bought  in  the  following  manner,  and  the 
bargain  was  closed  by  weapon-taking  and  the  shaking  of 

"If  a  man  buys  land  in  the  presence  of  many  men,  the 
thingmen  shall  convey  the  land  to  him.  He  shall  summon  the 
other  man  home,  and  thence  to  the  Thing,  and  have  witnesses  at 
the  Thing  that  he  has  lawfully  summoned  him.  He  shall  take 
mould,  as  is  mentioned  in  the  laws,  to  the  four  corners  of  the 
hearth,  and  to  the  high-seat,  and  where  field  and  meadow  meet, 
and  where  pasture  and  stone-ridge  meet,  and  have  witnesses, 
and  those  who  were  present  at  their  bargain,  at  the  Thing  that 
he  has  taken  the  mould  lawfully.  If  he  has  full  witnesses,  the 
Thingmen  shall  with  weapon-taking  convey  the  land  to  him. 
Wherever  they  agree  about  the  bargain,  and  the  sale  and  the 
mould  is  rightly  taken,  it,  and  also  the  conveyance,  shall 
be  kept  at  a  church  and  at  an  ale-house,  and  at  a  manned 
ship  with  several  rowing-seats,  as  if  it  were  made  at  a 
Thing.  Wherever  the  king  conveys  land  it  shall  be  kept "  1 
(Gulath.,  292). 

"  The  silver  was  then  all  counted,  and  every  yenning  paid 
for  the  land.  Bork  then  took  the  money,  and  by  a  hand- 
shaking transferred  the  land  to  Snorri  '  (Eyrbyggja  Saga, 
c.  14). 

"  If  a  woman  is  laugryg?  she  can  inherit  both  odal  and 
(loose)  property,  and  no  man  can  redeem  it  from  her.  The 
women  who  are  odal-women  and  whom  the  odals  follow  are 
these.  Daughter  and  sister,  and  father's  sister,  and  brother's 
daughter,  and  son's  daughter.  The  daughter  and  sister  are 
two  baugrygs.  They  can  pay  and  receive  wergiJd  like  men. 
They  also  have,  like  men,  the  first  right  to  buy  the  land  " 
(Gulath.,  275). 

Leaseholds  also  existed  in  these  early  days. 

"  Thrand  leased  out  the  lands  at  Gata  to  many,  and  took 
as  high  a  rent  as  possible  "  (Fsereyinga  Saga,  c.  2). 

Commons. — From  time  immemorial  the  large  extents  of  land 
and  sea,  which  belonged  to  no  individual,  and  used  by  one  or 

1  Of.     also    earlier    Gulathing's    Law, 
267 ;  earlier  Frostathing's  Law,  vi.  4. 

2  Baugryg  means  a  woman  who,  being 

a  single  daughter,  could  pay  and  receive 


more  communities  as  their  common  property,  were  called 
almenning  or  commons,  and  were  under  the  power  of  the  herad. 
Every  one  had  the  right  to  make  use  of  wood  and  water  on 
these  commons  ;  to  build  himself  seeter,1  as  well  as  smithies  and 
hunting-huts ;  to  fish  in  the  waters,  hunt  and  trap  animals ;  to 
cut  timber  and  mow  grass,  observing  the  previous  rights  of 
any  earlier  user.  The  settler  ought  then  to  fence  around  his 
property  within  twelve  months.  Outside  his  home  field  he 
owned  as  outgrounds  all  the  surrounding  land  as  far  as  he 
could  throw  his  knife.  All  fishing-places  at  some  distance 
from  the  coast  were  commons,  but  the  king  had  a  right  to  get 
a  fee  or  tax  from  those  who  fished  there,  which  tax  was  one 
of  his  sources  of  revenue.2 

"  Every  man  is  allowed  to  use  water  and  wood  on  a  common. 
Every  one  shall  have  his  common  as  he  has  had  it  from  old 
time.  If  a  settlement  is  made  on  a  common,  the  king  owns  it. 
If  there  is  a  field  and  meadow  fenced  in,  he  owns  the  land  as 
far  from  the  fence  as  he  can  throw  his  knife.  The  remaining 
is  common.  All  that  is  thrown  up  on  the  coast  of  a  common 
is  owned  by  the  king.  If  people  sail  along  the  coast  or  from 
sea  and  their  ships  founder,  whoever  owns  the  land  where 
they  are  wrecked  owns  as  much  property  as  he  can  prove  with 
witnesses.  The  king  owns  all  other  sea-wrecks "  (Gulath., 

"  This  law  have  the  kings  given  to  all  the  men  of  Haloga- 
land ;  namely,  the  kings  have  given  up  all  fish-gifts  (taxes) 
from  all  capes  and  all  fishing-places,  except  that  men  shall 
give  to  the  king  five  fishes.  That  shall  every  man  do  who 
fishes  in  Vagar  (in  Halogaland) "  3  (Frostath.,  xvi.  2). 

"  The  law  of  seal-catching  places  is,  that  within  three  weeks 
from  St.  John's  Mass,  and  six  weeks  from  Yule,  all  such  places 
are  holy,  and  no  man  shall  go  into  another's  ground  without 
leave.  If  a  man  is  found  in  another's  fishing-ground  during 
these  weeks  and  catches  seals,  he  is  a  thief.  Between  these 
times  they  shall  protect  their  seal-catching  places  like  their 
land  with  a  law  stick  (lag  kelti),  and  a  ran  baug  (fine)  ;  if  the 
thief  goes  then,  he  is  fined  for  trespassing  in  another  man's 
land.  ..."  (Frostath.,  xiv.  11). 

"  Deer-enclosures  every  man  can  make  on  common  land,  if 

1  A  chalet.  !   (Gulath..  145). 

2  All  that  was  thrown  up  by  the  sea,    i        3  Some  great  fishing-place  in  Haloga- 
wh.iles.  wreck,  &c.,  belonged  to  the  king    |    land. 

2  i  2 

484  THE  LAND. 

he  does  not  spoil  another's  hunting.  ...  A  spear-fence  shall 
not  stand  longer  than  ten  winters  "  (Frostath.,  xiv.  9). 

Later,  and  after  the  establishment  of  the  kingdom  of  Harald 
Fairhair,  the  commons  as  well  as  the  odal  became  the  property 
of  the  king  ;  and  William  the  Conqueror,  after  the  conquest 
of  England,  considered  himself  to  have  the  same  powers  as 
those  usurped  by  Harald  Fairhair  and  other  northern  kings. 

"  King  Harald  became  the  owner  of  all  odals,  and  of  all  the 
land  cultivated  and  uncultivated  in  every  Fylki,  and  even  of 
the  sea  and  the  rivers  and  lakes.  All  boendr  were  to  be  his 
tenants,  both  those  who  cultivated  the  field  and  the  saltniakers ; 
and  all  fishermen,  hunters  and  trappers,  both  on  sea  and  on 
land,  were  his  men  "  (Egil's  Saga,  c.  4).1 

If  a  person  had  been  living  on  a  common  during  the  time 
of  three  kings,  none  of  whom  reigned  less  than  ten  years,  he 
had  thereby  acquired  full  and  legal  rights  to  his  land,  even 
though  he  lacked  the  formal  consent  of  the  king. 

"  If  a  steward  or  messenger  of  the  king  charges  a  man  with 
dwelling  on  land  taken  from  the  common  without  the  king's 
leave,  and  the  man  answers  that  the  land  has  been  held  by 
him  during  the  lives  of  three  kings,  none  of  whom  ruled  less 
than  three  winters,  then  if  the  steward  or  king's  messenger 
denies  this  he  shall  bring  forward  witnesses"  (Frostath., 
xiv.  7). 

When  the  king  gave  land  to  a  man,  his  successor  could 
take  it  back,  so  the  gift  was  only  valuable  for  the  lifetime  of 

the  king. 

The  customs  which  regulated  settlements  made  on  the  land 
in  Iceland  were  probably  very  ancient,  but  it  is  impossible  to 
tell  whether  they  were  handed  down  from  the  time  of  the  first 
settlers  in  the  North. 

Asbjorn,  son  of  Heyangrs-Bjorn,  a  hersir  (chief)2  in  Sogn, 
died  at  sea  on  his  journey  to  Iceland,  but  Thorgerd,  his  wife 
and  their  sons  came  to  Iceland. 

"It  was  the  custom  that  a  woman  should  not  take  up  more 
land  than  a  half-grown  and  well-kept  heifer,  two  winters  old, 
could  be  led  across  during  the  spring-long  day  from  sunrise 

i  Cfr.  also  Heimskringla.  51,  52.         |  "  See  p.  491. 

HOW  LAM >    IC.IX  ALLOTTED.  1X.~> 

to  sunset;  therefore  Thorgerd  led  her  heifer  from  Thoptufell, 
near  Kvia,  southwards  to  Kidjaklett  at  Jokulsfell  "  (Landnama, 
Pt.  iv.,  c.  10). 

"Those  who  came  out  later  thought  the  first  comers  had 
taken  too  much  land,  and  on  that  account  King  Harald 
Fairhair  established  a  law  that  no  one  should  take  up  more 
land  than  he  could  walk  over  with  fire  in  one  day  with  his 
ship-companions.  They  were  to  light  fires  when  the  sun  was 
in  the  east,  which  were  to  burn  until  night ;  then  they  were 
to  walk  until  the  sun  was  in  the  west  and  make  other  fires  ; 
the  smoke  was  to  be  seen  from  the  one  fire  to  the  other '' 
(Landnama,  v.,  c.  1). 



Antiquity  of  class  divisions  in  the  North — Influence  of  education — The  classes 
into  which  society  was  divided — The  Jarl  the  progenitor  of  kings — 
Primogeniture — The  thrall — Description  of  freemen — The  freeman  a 
farmer  or  bondi — Occupation  of  Jarl  and  his  wife — High-born  women — 
Marriage  of  the  high  born — Sons  of  Jarls — Divisions  of  the  people  at 
the  close  of  the  Pagan  era — The  Hersir  or  leader  of  the  host — Customs 
of  ancient  chiefs — The  Jarl  in  earlier  and  later  times — The  Lendirmenu 
the  leaders  and  advisers  of  the  bcendr — The  position  and  power  of  the 
Bondi — The  Haulld,  a  higher  grade  of  bondi — The  king — Grades  of 
kingship — Sea  kings — Consent  of  the  Thing  to  the  election  of  a  king — 
Manner  of  selecting  a  king. 

FROM  very  early  times  the  people  of  the  North  were  divided 
into  classes.  Men  and  women  were  educated  from  their  child- 
hood to  believe  in  the  superiority  or  inferiority  of  their  own 
being,  of  the  position  inherited  by  them  at  their  birth,  and 
consequently  to  think  themselves  superior  or  inferior  to  the 
»ther  people  of  the  commonwealth.  This  belief  was  intensified 
by  the  education  they  received,  their  surroundings  and  their 
mode  of  life,  as  seen  throughout  from  the  day  of  their  birth  to 
the  time  when  they  were  buried.  The  class  that  governed  held 
that  they  were  born  to  rule,  and  the  slave  to  remain  a  slave. 
The  lot  of  each  had  been  hereditary,  fate  had  so  decreed. 

This  demarcation  into  classes  was  acquiesced  in  by  the  people 
of  the  land,  for  it  could  not  have  existed  a  single  moment 
without  their  will,  and  formed  an  integral  part  of  the  social 
and  political  fabric  throughout  the  whole  history  of  the  people. 

But  as  will  be  seen  in  the  perusal  of  these  volumes,  no  man 
was  allowed  to  rule  over  the  people  unless  he  excelled  in 
many  things. 

The  Eigsmdl  gives  in  a  striking  manner  the  mode  of  life  of 
early  times,  and  shows  into  howmany  classes  society  was  divided: 
viz.,  the  slave ;  the  karl  or  bondi  ;  the  jarl,  and  the  kersir. 



In  the  first  stanza  of  the  Voluspa  we  have  seen  that  all  men 
are  called  the  sons  of  Heimdall,  of  which  we  have  an  ex- 
planation in  the  Kigsmal.  Heimdall  travels  about  under  the 
name  of  Rig,  from  house  to  house  ;  first  he  goes  to  Ai  and 
Edda  (great-grandfather  and  great-grandmother),  then  to  Afi. 
and  Amma  (grandfather  and  grandmother),  and  then  to  Fadir 
and  Modir  (father  and  mother). 

In  the  poem  we  see  the  ancestry  of  each  class  under  a  sort 
of  developing  system — how  the  jarl  and  hersir  are  the  pro- 


of  chiefs  and  kings ; 
primogeniture  and  entail ;  of 
except  that  he  existed. 

It  is  told  there  went 
Along  the  greeii  paths 
A  mighty  and  old 
And  wise  As, 
The  strong  and  nimble 
Rig  the  wanderer. 

He  went  on  thereafter 

Along  the  middle  of  the  path, 

And  came  to  a  house ; 

The  door  was  ajar ; 

He  went  in ; 

Fire  was  on  the  floor ; 

Man  and  wife  sat  there 

Hoary,  at  the  hearth, 

Ai  and  Edda, 

With  her  old-fashioned  hood. 

Rig  gave  them 

Good  advice ; 

He  sat  down 

In  the  middle  seat, 

And  on  either  side 

The  man  and  wife  of  the  house. 

Then  Edda  took 

A  lumpy  loaf, 

Heavy  and  thick, 

Mixed  with  bran ; 

Then  she  put  more 

On  the  middle  of  the  trencher 

Broth  was  in  the  bowl ; 

She  put  it  on  a  table. 

There  was  boiled  veal 

The  best  of  dainties. 

and    we    learn  of   odctl,  or    of 
the  hersir  we   learn 


Rig  could  give  them 

Good  advice  ; 

He  rose  from  there, 

Went  to  sleep, 

And  lay  down 

In  the  middle  of  the  bed, 

And  on  either  side 

The  man  and  wife  of  the  house. 

There  he  stayed 

Three  nights  altogether ; 

Then  travelled  on 

Along  the  middle  of  the  path  : 

Then  passed 

Nine  months. 

Edda  gave  birth  to  a  child, 

They  sprinkled  it  with  water. 

Appearance  of  the  Thrall. 
They  called  him  Thrall. 
He  grew 

And  throve  well ; 
There  was  on  (his)  hands 
Wrinkled  skin ; 
Crooked  knuckles. 

*  *  * 

Fingers  thick, 
Face  ugly, 
Back  bent, 
Heels  long. 

Thereafter  he  began 
To  try  his  strength 
To  bind  bast, 
To  make  loads 



Thereafter  he  carried  home 
Faggots  the  weary  day. 

There  came  to  the  house 
The  leg-walking  ;l 
Scars  were  on  her  soles  ; 
Her  arm  was  sunburnt ; 
Her  nose  crooked  ; 
(She)  was  called  Thir.2 

She  sat  down 

In  the  middle  of  the  seat ; 

The  son  of  the  house 

Sat  at  her  side ; 

They  talked  and  whispered, 

Made  a  bed 

Thrall  and  Thir 

Through  the  wearisome  days. 

They  had  children, 

Lived  and  were  happy ; 
*  *  * 

They  laid  fences, 
Enriched  the  plough-land, 
Tended  swine, 
Herded  goats, 
Dug  peat. 

Description  of  Freemen. 
Then  Rig  went 
Right  on  his  way  ; 
He  came  to  a  hall ; 
The  door  was  on  the  latch. 
He  went  in ; 
Fire  was  on  the  floor,3 
Husband  and  wife  sat  there, 
Busy  with  their  work. 

A  man  cut  there 

A  log  into  a  loom-beam, 

(His)  beard  was  trimmed  ; 

Hair  lay  on  (his)  forehead, 

His  shirt  was  tight ; 

There  was  a  chest  on  the  floor. 

There  sat  a  woman ; 

She  twirled  a  distaff, 

Stretched  out  her  arms, 

Made  cloth  ; 

There  was  a  sveig4  on  her  head, 

A  smock  on  her  breast, 

A  kerchief  on  her  neck, 

Pin-brooches  on  her  shoulders ; 

Afi  and  Amma5 

Owned  the  house. 

Amma  gave  birth  to  a  child ; 
(They)  sprinkled  it  with  water, 
Called  it  Karl, 

The  wife  wrapped  it  in  linen ; 
(It  was)  red  and  ruddy, 
(Its)  eyes  rolled. 

The  Freeman,  a  Farmer  or  Bondi. 

He  did  grow 
And  thrive  well ; 
He  broke  oxen, 
Made  ploughs ; 
Timbered  houses, 
Made  barns, 
Made  carts, 
And  drove  the  plough. 

They  (the  parents)  drove  home 

The  maiden  with  the  hanging  keys 

And  with  the  goatskin  kirtle  ; 

They  married  her  to  Karl ; 

She  was  called  Snb'r, 

She  sat  down  under  bridal  linen. 

(They)  lived  as  man  and  wife, 

Divided  rings  (wealth), 

Spread  bedclothes, 

And  set  up  a  household. 

They  had  children ; 

They  lived  together  happy. 

Then  follows  a  description  of  the  jarl,  who  possessed  all  the 
qualities   given  by  Odin,  from  whom   many  claim    descent. 

1  So  named    probably   because   accus- 
tomed to  walk  much. 
-  Bond-woman. 
3  In  later  times  we  see  that  the  fire- 

place was  in  the  middle  of  the  floor. 

4  Kind  of  head-dress. 

5  Grandfather  and  grandmother. 



From  this  we  learn  the  occupation  of  himself  and  wife  and 
their  manner  of  living,  that  he  was  a  warrior,  and  had  a  know- 

ledge of  runes. 

Rig  went  thence 

Kight  onwards ; 

He  came  to  a  hall, 

The  door  was  to  the  south, 

And  it  was  shut ; 

A  ring l  was  in  the  door-post. 

Then  he  went  in  ; 

The  floor  was  strewn  with  rushes; 

The  man  and  the  wife  sat, 

Looked  into  (each  other's)  eyes  ; 

Fadir  and  Modir 

Played  with  their  fingers. 

The  husband  sat, 
And  twisted  strings, 
Bent  an  elm, 
Shafted  arrows; 
And  the  housewife 
Looked  at  her  arms, 
Smoothed  the  linen, 
Folded  the  sleeves. 

She  let  her  fald  stand  out ; 2 
A  brooch  was  on  her  breast ; 
She  wore  long  trai  lings,3 
A  blue-dyed  sark ; 
A  brow  brighter, 
A  breast  lighter, 
A  neck  whiter, 
Than  pure  snow. 

The  mother  took 

A  broidered  cloth, 

A  white  one  of  flax, 

Covered  the  table ; 

Then  she  took 

Thin  loaves, 

White  loaves  of  wheat, 

And  laid  them  on  the  cloth. 

Forth  she  set 
Full  trenchers, 

Silver  covered, 
On  the  table, 
Shining  pork 
And  roasted  birds ; 
Wine  was  in  a  jug ; 
The  cups  (were)  mounted; 
They  drank  and  talked ; 
The  day  was  passing  away. 

Eig  could  give  them 

Good  advice ; 

Then  he  rose, 

And  made  his  bed ; 

He  was  there 

Three  nights  together  : 

Then  he  went  on 

In  the  middle  of  the  path ; 

Then  there  passed 

Nine  months. 

Modir  gave  birth  to  a  boy, 
Wrapped  him  in  silk 
Sprinkled  him  with  water, 
Called  him  jarl. 
His  hair  was  fair, 
Cheeks  bright ; 
His  eyes  were  keen, 
As  a  young  snake's.4 

The  Jarl  grew  up 
There  in  the  house  ; 
Shook  the  lind,5 
Laid  the  strings, 
Bent  the  elm, 
Shafted  the  arrows, 
Threw  the  javelins, 
Shook  the  spears, 
Rode  horses, 
Set  on  the  hounds, 
Brandished  the  sword, 
Practised  swimming. 

1  Probably  for  fastening  the  door. 

2  This     peculiar     head-dress    is    still 
found  in  Iceland  and  Normandy. 

3  A  kirtle  trailing,  long  trailing  dress. 

4  In  Volsunga  Saga  the  same  expres- 
sion occurs. 

5  The  shield  of  linden  tree. 



Out  of  the  brushwood 
Came  Eig  walking, 
Taught  him  runes, 
Gave  him  his  name, 
Said  he  was  his  son ; 
He  bade  him  own 
The  Oc?a?-fields, 
The  old  homestead. 

He  rode  on  thence 
Through  a  dark  wood, 
Over  hoar- frosted  mountains, 
Till  he  came  to  a  hall ; 
He  brandished  the  spear, 
Shook  the  linden, 
Let  the  horse  gallop, 
Drew  his  sword, 
Stirred  up  war, 
Reddened  the  field, 
Felled  men  for  land. 

He  alone  then  ruled 

Eighteen  farms, 

Dealt  out  wealth, 

Gave  to  all 

Treasures  and  costly  things, 

Bare-ribbed  horses ; 

Scattered  rings,1 

Cut  them  asunder. 

Appearance  of  the  High-born  Women. 

The  messengers  drove 
On  the  wet  paths,2 
And  came  to  the  hall 
Where  Hersir  lived;3 
He  had  a  daughter 
White  and  gentle, 
She  was  called  Erna. 

The  High-born  Marry  together. 

They  asked  for  her 
And  drove  home, 

And  married  her  to  Jail ; 
She  walked  under  linen ; 
They  lived  together 
And  were  happy, 
Increased  the  kin, 
Enjoyed  life. 

Bur  was  the  oldest, 

Barn  the  second, 

Jod  and  Adal, 

Arfi,  Mog, 

Nid  and  Nidjung, 

They  played 

Son  and  Svem  (swain) 

And  played  chess. 

One  was  called  Kund,4 

Kon  was  the  youngest. 

Sons  of  Jarls  are  called  Kon. 

Up  grew 
The  sons  of  Jarl, 
They  brake  horses, 
Bent  shields, 
Smoothed  shafts, 
Shook  ash-spears. 

But  Kon  5  the  young 
Knew  runes, 
Everlasting  runes,6 
And  life  runes ; 
And  further  he  knew 
How  to  save  men's  lives, 
To  blunt  edges, 
To  calm  the  sea.7 

From  this  we  see  that  the  Jarl  was 
supposed  to  have  qualities  not  possessed 
by  the  lower  class,  vyhich  was  kept  in 
awe  of  him  on  this  account. 

He  learnt  the  chirping  of  birds,8 

To  quench  fires, 

To  soothe  minds, 

To  allay  sorrows ; 

He  had  the  strength  and  energy 

Of  eight  men. 

1  Rings  were  of  gold,  and  were  used  as 

2  Perhaps  this  means  the  sea. 

3  We  are  not  told  about  the  Hersir. 

4  Kund — a  son,  a  kinsman. 

5  Kon-ung  =  Konung  =  Kuug  =  King. 

6  Everlasting    runes,    probably    more 
powerful     ruues    than    ordinary — runes 
that  may  have  been  only  known  to  few. 

7  To  calm  the  sea  by  spell. 

8  Some  people  were  supposed  to  under- 
stand the  language  of  birds. 


He  coped  iu  runes  "  Why  wilt  thou,  young  Kon, 

Against  Rig  jarl ;  Kill  birds  ? 

Used  tricks  Thou  shouldst  rather 

And  outdid  him;  Horses  ride 

Then  he  got  And  fell  the  host.1 

And  then  he  owned 

The  name  of  Rig,  Dan  and  Danp 

The  knowledge  of  runes.  Own  costly  halls, 

A  higher  odal 

Ihe  young  Ron  rode  m, 

m,  j  e  Than  you  nave ; 

through  copse  and  forest,  „,, 

J  hey  know  well 

Shot  the  bolt,  „,     J. , 

„.,,   ,  ,  .  ,  lo  ride  the  keel, 

Rilled  birds.  rp 

lo  teach  the  edges 

Then  said  a  crow ;  To  cut  wounds." 

It  sat  alone  on  a  bough  : 

Towards  the  end  of  the  Pagan  era  the  grades  of  the  people 
were  Konung,  Jarl,  Hersir  or  Lend  mann,  Hauld,  Bondi,  Leys- 
ingi,  and  Thrall. 

The  Hersir. — The  dignity  of  Hersir  was  hereditary  and  of 
great  antiquity,  but  was  not  as  ancient  as  that  of  the  Drottin  or 
Godi.2  The  records  in  regard  to  his  functions  are  very  meagre. 
He  was  the  leader  of  the  her  (host,  or  community),  their  chief  in 
war  and  in  the  administration  of  justice  ;  high  "  priest  (Godi)  " 
in  regard  to  worship,  and  as  such  took  care  of  the  temple,  super- 
intended the  sacrifices  and  other  religious  ceremonies.  As  a 
godi  he  held  the  farms  and  estates  belonging  to  the  temple, 
and  sometimes  received  a  temple-tax  from  the  boendr  for  the 
maintenance  of  the  temple  and  sacrifices.  In  most  instances 
the  temple  property  from  time  immemorial  belonged  to  the 
Hersir  who  presided  at  the  Thing.  The  change  of  the  name 
of  the  ruler  from  that  of  Godi  to  that  of  Hersir  seems  to  point 
to  the  time  when  the  temporal  and  spiritual  authority  were 
united,  but  we  have  no  knowledge  how  it  came  to  pass- 
probably  it  did  so  very  gradually  and  insidiously. 

By  Harald  Fairhair  the  independence  of  the  Hersir,  con- 
sequently of  the  Herad,  was  well-nigh  annihilated,  and  the 
former  never  regained  his  position.  Thus  died  this  ancient 
and  noble  dignity,  connected  with  the  very  earliest  history  of 
the  ancestors  of  the  English-speaking  people.  It  was  an  office 

1  From  this  we  see  that  the  business 
of  a  young  kins;  was  war. 

2  See  p.  525. 


of  a  patriarchal  nature  belonging  to  the  social  structure  of 
that  period,  intimately  connected  with  the  Bondi  of  the  Herad 
of  which  the  Hersir  was  the  hereditary  head ;  and  with  the 
loss  of  his  independence  carne  that  of  the  freedom  of  the  Herad 
and  of  the  people  ;  and  never  has  Norway  been  herself  since 
that  time.  But  out  of  evil  came  good.  These  men,  who  could 
not  bear  the  yoke  of  this  Royal  despot,  in  whom  there  is  but 
little  to  admire,  except  his  personal  bravery,  afterwards  migrated 
into  different  parts  of  Europe,  as  is  seen  from  several  Sagas. 

"  In  the  old  age  of  Ketil,  Harald  Fairhair  established  his 
rule  over  Norway,  so  that  no  Kings  of  Fylkis  or  other  great 
men  could  thrive  there  without  acknowledging  his  power. 

"  When  Ketil  heard  that  King  Harald  intended  to  make  him 
submit  to  the  same  conditions  as  other  powerful  men,  to  get 
no  wergild  for  his  kinsmen  and  become  his  tenant,  he  sum- 
moned a  Thing  of  his  kinsman  and  said  :  '  To  your  knowledge 
must  have  come  our  dealings  with  King  Harald,  which  need 
not'be  told,  for  it  is  more  necessary  to  take  counsel  about  the 
hard  conditions  which  he  wishes  to  impose  on  us.  I  know  for 
certain  his  enmity  toward  us,  and  that  we  can  hope  for  nothing 
from  him.  It  therefore  seems  to  me  that  we  have  the  choice 
of  only  two  things — either  to  flee  the  country,  or  be  slain  each 
at  his  place  ;  and  I  prefer  to  die  like  my  kinsmen,  but  I  do  not 
wish  to  lead  you  into  such  danger  by  my  selfwill,  as  I  know 
the  temper  of  my  friends  and  kinsmen :  they  will  not  leave 
me  though  it  may  be  some  danger  to  follow  me.' 

"  Bjorn,  Ketil's  son,  replied :  '  Quickly  will  I  proclaim  my 
choice,  for  I  will  follow  the  example  of  other  highborn  men, 
and  flee  this  land,  rather  than  remain  here  as  the  thrall  of 
King  Harald.'  All  thought  this  well  and  manfully  spoken, 
and  it  was  decided  that  they  should  all  leave  the  country. 
Bjorn  and  Helgi  wanted  to  go  to  Iceland,  as  they  had  heard 
that  the  land  was  good,  with  plenty  of  game  and  fish.  Ketil 
however  said  that  he  would  not  go  to  that  wild  country  in  his 
old  age,  but  westward,  where  he  knew  many  places,  as  he  had 
ravaged  widely  there  "  (Laxdoela,  2). 

"Ulf  Gyldir  was  a  powerful  hersir  in  Thelamork.  He 
resided  at  Fiflavellir,  and  his  son  Asgrim  dwelt  there  after 
him.  King  Harald  Fairhair  sent  his  kinsman  Thororni  from 
Thruma  to  get  tribute  from  Asgiini,  but  he  would  not  pay  any, 
for  he  had  shortly  before  sent  to  the  king  a  Gautaland  horse 
and  mu^h  silver,  but  said  that  this  was  a  gift,  and  no  tax,  for 
he  had  never  before  paid  any.  The  king  returned  the 
property,  and  would  not  accept  it  "  (Landnama,  v.,  c.  6). 



"  A  man  was  called  Dala-Gudbrand  ;  he  had  the  name  of 
Hersir,  but  ruled  like  a  king  over  the  Dalir  (district).  Sigvat 
Scald  compared  him  in  power  and  in  vast  possessions  to  Erling 
Skjalgsson  "  (St.  Olaf,  Heimskringla,  c.  118). 

"  Arnvid  the  blind  replied  :  '  Lord  (Herra),  most  unlike  are 
red  gold  and  clay,  but  greater  is  the  difference  between  King 
and  Thrall.  You  promised  your  daughter  Ingegerd,  who  is 
high  born  in  all  pedigrees  of  Uppsvia  family,  which  is  the 
highest  in  the  northern  lands,  for  it  is  descended  from  the 
gods  themselves '  '  (St.  Olaf,  Hkr.,  96). 

It  was  the  custom  of  the  Hersir  and  of  chiefs  to  sit  daily  or 
often  on  the  mound  raised  over  the  remains  of  their  ancestors' 
kinsmen  or  wives,  so  that  they  could  be  seen  for  a  long  distance, 
and  that  every  one  might  have  access  to  them.  At  such  times 
it  seems  to  have  been  customary  for  the  chiefs  to  be  alone. 
They  occupied  themselves  there  in  playing  with  their  dogs, 
hunting  with  hawks,  cutting  the  manes  of  their  horses,  or  look- 
ing at  games,  &c. ;  or  they  quietly  contemplated  the  panorama, 
and  saw  before  them  visions  of  Odin,  of  the  Valhalla,  and  of 
their  kinsmen  who  had  gone  there. 

This  custom  of  sitting  on  mounds  seems  to  be  of  very  great 
antiquity,  and  was  mentioned  in  the  earlier  Edda,  and  in 
many  places  in  the  Sagas. 

"  Thrym  the  Jotun  had  stolen  Thor's  hammer,  and  Loki, 
having  borrowed  the  eagle-shape  of  Freyja,  goes  in  the  dress 
of  Freyja  (see  Wedding-dress),  as  a  bride  to  Jotunheim,  and 
there  beholds  Thrym. 

Thrym  sat  ou  a  mound, 
The  Lord  of  Thursar, 
Braiding  gold  bands 

For  his  grey  hounds,1 

And  cutting  even  the  manes 

Of  his  horses." 

(Thrymskvida,  6.) 

Thorleif  the  wise  was  a  chief  who  would  not  accept 
Christianity,  and  Olaf  Tryggvason  sent  the  poet  Hallfred  to 
him  on  this  account. 

"  Thorleif  was  wont,  as  was  often  the  custom  of  men  in 
ancient  times,  to  sit  on  a  mound  not  far  from  the  boer,  and 
there  he  was  when  Hallfred  came  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur). 

1  Greyiom :  this    is    the    dative    form 
which  is  grey  in  nominative  ;  the  form 

grey  hund  also  occurs  (Fornmanna  Sogur 
xi.  10.) 


"  Thorgnyr  Jarl  had  much  loved  his  queen,  and  her  mound 
was  near  the  burgh.  The  jarl  sat  there  often  at  good  meals,  or 
when  he  held  councils,  or  had  games  played  before  him  " 
(Gongu  Hrolf's  Saga,  c.  5). 

The  Jarl. — The  term  Jarl,  in  the  Earlier  Edda,  was  not 
hereditary,  but  was  a  name  of  distinction  given  to  a  high-born 
chief  who  possessed  warlike  qualities,  to  the  commander  of  a 
host,  and,  at  a  later  time,  to  a  chief  ruling  over  certain  districts. 

In  the  historical  period,  when  Fylkis  existed,  we  have  inde- 
pendent jarls  of  Halogaland,  whose  jarldom  was  only  different 
in  name  from  that  of  king,  to  whom  he  was  next  in  dignity. 
Later  the  jarldom  was  an  office  given  by  the  king  for  life. 
Harald  Fairhair  named  jarls  for  every  Fylki,  to  govern  on  his 
behalf ;  but  this  was  never  completely  carried  out,  even  in  his 
own  time,  for  his  sons  became  sub -kings.  In  the  course  of  the 
tenth  century  the  jarls,  except  those  of  Halogaland,1  disap- 
peared in  Norway.  In  Harald  Fairhair's  time  the  jarldom  was 
inherited  in  the'  Orkneys,  and  the  jarl,  who  sometimes  pos- 
sessed large  tracts  of  land  in  Scotland,  had  to  pay  taxes  to  the 
Norwegian  kings.  During  Harald  Hardradi's  rule,  in  the 
middle  of  the  eleventh  century,  there  was  only  one  jarl  in 
Norway  as  a  help  to  the  king  (Harald  Hardradi,  Hkr.,  ch.  49). 
They  often  traced  their  title,  which  was  sometimes  considered 
a  family  title,  through  a  long  descent;  and  the  famous 
Haley  yja  jarls  (the  jarls  of  Halogaland)  traced  their  pedigree 
from  Odin.2 

"  Hakon  jarl  ruled  over  Norway  all  along  the  coast  over 
sixteen  Fylkis.  After  Harald  Fairhair  had  ordered  that  a  jarl 
should  be  in  every  Fylki  the  custom  was  continued  for  a  long 
time.  Hakon  had  sixteen  jarls  under  him"  (Olaf  Tryggvason, 
Heimskringla,  c.  50. 

In  the  time  of  Harald  Fairhair  there  seems  to  have  been  a 
certain  ceremony  at  the  making  of  a  jarl. 

"  In  Nauru udal  two  brothers,  Herlaug  and  Hrollaug,  were 
kings.  They  had  been  making  a  mound  for  three  summers  ; 

1  The    male   line   of   Hakon    Jarl    the 
Great    became  extinct    in  his  grandson, 
Hakon  Kiriksson,  in  1029. 

2  Hdlcygjatal,  in  which  Eyvind  traces    | 

the  family  of  Hakon.  Cf.  also  the  jarls 
of  Mceri  (Rbgnvald,  Moera-jarl,  who  was 
the  forefather  of  the  jarls  of  Orkneys 
and  Rouen  in  Normandy). 



it  was  made  of  stones,  and  lime  and  wood.  When  the  mound 
was  finished  the  brothers  heard  that  Harald  Fairhair  was 
coming  with  a  host.  Then  Herlaug  had  a  great  deal  of  food 
and  drink  conveyed  to  the  mound,  and  went  with  eleven  men 
into  the  mound  and  had  it  shut.  Hrollaug  went  to  the  mound 
on  whicli  the  kings  used  to  sit  and  had  his  high-seat  prepared 
for  him  there  and  sat  down ;  he  had  cushions  laid  on  the  foot- 
board where  the  jarls  used  to  sit ;  then  he  rolled  himself 
down  from  his  high-seat  into  the  jarl's  seat,  and  gave  himself 
the  name  of  a  jarl.  Thereafter  he  met  Harald  and  gave  him 
his  whole  realm,  and  offered  to  become  his  man,  and  told  him 
what  he  had  done.  Harald  took  a  sword  and  fastened  it  to 
his  belt ;  then  he  fastened  a  shield  to  his  neck  and  made  him 
his  jarl,  and  led  him  up  to  his  high- seat ;  he  gave  him 
Naumudalsfylki  and  made  him  jarl  over  it '  (Heirnskringla, 
p.  53). 

"  Halfdan  the  old  had  nine  sons  by  Alvig  the  Wise,  daughter 
of  King  Eyvind  of  Holmgard.  They  were  called  Thengil, 
Rsesir,  Gram,  Gylfi,  Hilmir,  Jofur.  Tyggi,  Skyli  or  Skuli, 
Harri  or  Herra.1  These  nine  brothers  became  so  famous  in 
warfare  that  in  all  songs  their  names  are  used  as  names  of 
rank,  like  the  names  of  kings  or  jarls.  They  had  no  children, 
and  fell  in  battle  "  (Halfdan  the  Old,  Later  Edda). 

The  Lendir  menn. — With  the  disappearance  of  the  Hersir 
a  new  class  of  men,  called  Lendir  menn,  arose,  who  ranked 
below  the  Jarl,  and  whose  office  was  somewhat  similar  to  that 
of  the  Hersir ;  but  they  received  their  dignity,  which  was  not 
hereditary,  from  the  king,  and  it  seldom  happened  that  any 
one  but  the  son  of  such  a  one  was  raised  to  the  dignity. 

Before  a  hundred  years  had  passed  after  Harald  Fairhair's 
usurpation  of  power,  the  Lendir  menn  had  won  such  a  position 
in  the  state  that  the  rulers  of  the  country  always  had  to  seek 
their  help.  They  were  the  leaders  and  trusty  advisers  of  the 

"  Shortly  after  Yule,  Svein  Jarl  gathered  men  all  around 
Thrandheirn,  summoned  the  levy,  and  prepared  his  ships.  At 
this  time'there  were  in  Norway  many  lendir  menn,  several  of 
whom  were  powerful,  and  so  high-born  that  they  were  near 
descendants  of  kings  or  jarls  ;  they  were  also  very  rich.  Kings 

1  Herra  =  a  lord,  or  master,  was  only 
used  as  a  title  after  the  year  1277,  when 
knights  and  barons  were  first  introduced 

into  Norway.  The  word  is  derived  from 
Her  (host),  thus  meaning;  the  lord,  or 
perhaps  at  first  the  leader  of  a  host. 


and  jarls  ruling  the  country  had  great  support  from  the  lendir 
menn,  for  in  each  Fylki  it  was  the  lendir  menn  who  ruled  over 
the  mass  of  the  boendr  "  (St.  Olaf,  c.  44). 

The  Bondi  was  a  name  of  honour  given  to  him  who  possessed 
lands  which  he  cultivated  with  men  under  him  consequently 
the  foremost  chiefs  of  the  country  were  boendr. 

They  made  and  unmade  the  laws  in  the  Thing,  accepted 
or  deposed  the  men  who  were  to  rule  or  ruled  over  them.  In 
them  lay  the  strength  and  power  of  the  country ;  from  their 
earliest  youth  we  find  them  practising  all  kinds  of  athletic 
games,  fitting  themselves  to  be  warriors  on  land  and  sea. 

The  Haulld  seems  to  have  been  a  higher  grade  of  bondi, 
on  account  of  the  nature  of  the  odal  which  he  had  inherited 
from  his  father  and  mother,  and  which  his  forefathers  had 
owned  before  them.  The  haulld  and  the  bondi  were  the  only 
classes  who  could  be  regarded  as  hereditary ;  they  formed  an 
integral  part  of  the  herad,  and  were  the  representatives  of  all 
that  was  powerful  and  influential  in  the  land.  Throughout 
the  whole  Northern  literature  we  see  their  power  when 
assembled  in  the  Thing. 

The  desire  to  show  this  power  caused  chiefs  and  rich  bcendr 
to  surround  themselves  with  a  retinue  of  free  and  warlike 

"  When  Olaf  Tryggvason  ruled  over  Norway,  he  gave  his 
brother-in-law  Erling  one  half  of  the  land-rents,  and  one  half 
of  all  the  revenues  between  Lidandisnes  (Lindesnces)  and  Sogn. 
Olaf  married  his  other  sister  to  Koguvald  Jaii  tllfsson,  who 
ruled  long  over  Western  Gautland.  Eognyald's  father  Ulf  was 
the  brother  of  Sigrid  the  Proud,  mother  of  Olaf  King  of  Sweden. 
Eirik  Jarl  did  not  like  Erling  to  have  so  much  power,  and 
took  to  himself  all  the  possessions  which  King  Olaf  had 
granted  to  Erling ;  but  Erling  continued  to  take  all  the  land- 
dues  in  Rogaland,  and  the  inhabitants  often  paid  them  twice 
to  him.  Little  did  the  Jaii  get  of  the  fines,  for  the  si/shimenn 
(tax-gatherers)  could  not  remain  there.  The  Jarl  never  went 
to  veizlas  (entertainments,  feasts)  there  unless  he  tad  many 
men  with  him. 

"  Eirik  did  not  dare  to  fight  against  Erling,  for  he  had  many 
and  mighty  kinsmen,  and  was  powerful  and  popular.  He  also 
constantly  had  with  him  as  many  men  as  a  king's  bodyguard. 
Erling  was  often  on  warfare  during  the  summer,  and  won 


property,  for  he  kept  up  in  the  same  manner  his  liberality  and 
high  living,  though  he  had  smaller  and  less  revenues  than 
in  the  days  of  King  Olaf  "  (St.  Olafs  Saga,  21). 

"  Thorstein  Thorskabit  became  a  most  powerful  man ;  he 
always  had  with  him  sixty  free  men  "  (Eyrbyggja  Saga,  ii.). 

The  King. — Kon l  in  the  old  Northern  tongue  meant  a  man 
of  high  birth ;  in  the  Rigsmal,  the  word  is  konung. 

All  descendants  of  Rig2  retained  the  name  of  konung. 
Dyggvi,  who  was  the  first  of  the  Ynglings,  assumed  this  title, 
and  later  arose  a  class  of  chiefs  to  whom  the  name  of  konung 
was  applied. 

"  His  son  Dyggvi  then  ruled  the  lands  and  of  him  is  nothing 
told  except  that  he  died  of  sickness.  .  .  .  The  mother  of  Dyggvi 
was  Drott,  the  daughter  of  King  Danp,  the  son  of  Rig,  who 
was  the  first  that  was  called  king  (konung)  in  the  Danish 
tongue  ;  his  kinsman  always  afterwards  held  the  king's  name 
to  be  the  highest  name  of  honour.  Dyggvi  was  the  first  of 
his  family  who  was  called  king. 

"Before,  they  (the  family)  were  called  drottnar  (lords)  and 
their  wives  drottningar  and  the  hird  was  called  drott.  Each 
one  of  them  was  called  Yiigvi  all  his  life  and  all  together 
they  were  called  Ynglingar.  Drott  the  drottning  (queen) 
was  the  sister  of  Dan  the  Proud,  after  whom  Danmork 
(Denmark)  is  named"  (Ynglinga,  c.  20). 

The  process  of  the  transfer  of  the  ruling  authority  from  the 
hands  of  the  Hersir  to  those  of  the  King  cannot  be  clearly 
shown ;  it  was  most  probably  gradual  and  slow,  the  one  being 
absorbed  by  the  other.  The  dignity  of  Hersir  was  earlier  than 
that  of  Konung. 

At  first  the  name  of  king  was  a  dignity  which  implied 
power  or  rule  with  it ;  there  were  several  grades. 

The  FyTki  kings  ;  the  Herad  kings ;  the  Skatt  kings  =  tax- 
kings  or  sub-kings  ;  the  Sea-kings,  and  the  Host-kings. 

The  Herad-kings,  the  kings  of  the  whole  realm,  who  ruled 
over  several  Fylkis  or  Herads,  were  the  most  powerful.  They 
were  originally  spiritual  rulers,  and  traced  their  origin  to  Odin 
and  his  sons. 

1  PI.  Konir. 


Rig  seems  to  be  a  son  of  Rig  Jarl, 

the  hero  of   Rigsmal,   whose  name   was 
otherwise  Kon. 

VOL.  I.  2   K 


"  At  that  time  there  were  many  kings  in  Upplond  who  ruled 
over  Fylkis,  and  most  of  them  sprang  from  Harald  Fairhair. 
Two  brothers,  Hrcerek  and  Hring,  ruled  Heidmork,  and  Gudrod 
ruled  the  Gudbrandsdal.  There  was  also  a  king  in  Kau- 
mariki "  (St.  Olaf,  34). 

"  Harald  Fairhair  reigned  over  Norway  for  a  long  time  ; 
but  before  that  the  country  was  ruled  by  many  kings,  some 
having  one  Fylld  to  govern,  and  others  somewhat  more.  All 
these  kings  Harald  deposed.  .  .  .  He  placed  a  jarl  in  every 
Fylki,  to  rule  the  land  and  administer  the  laws "  (Flat- 

Many  of  the  bold  spirits  of  the  North  could  ill  brook  the 
yoke  of  the  first  king  of  Norway. 

Solvi,  son  of  King  Hunthjof,  escaped  from  a  battle  against 
Harald  Fairhair  in  which  his  father  fell.  He  went  to  King 
Arnvid  of  Smmmceri  and  told  him  to  fight  against  Harald. 

" '  Though  this  trouble  has  come  on  our  hands,  it  will  not  be 
long  before  the  same  will  come  on  yours,  for  I  guess  that 
Harald  will  soon  come  here  when  he  has  subjugated  and  made 
thralls  of  any  one  he  pleases  in  Nordmoeri  and  Baumsdal. 
You  will  have  to  do  the  same  as  we  had  to  do,  defend  your 
property  and  your  freedom,  and  gather  together  all  those  from 
whom  you  may  expect  help.  I  offer  my  help  and  that  of  my 
warriors  against  this  overbearing  and  insolence  ;  else  you  must 
do  like  the  men  of  Naumudal,  go  of  your  free  will  under  his 
yoke  and  become  his  thralls.  My  father  thought  it  a  victory 
to  die  in  his  kingship  with  honour,  rather  than  become  the 
wider-man x  of  another  king  in  his  old  age.  I  expect  thee  to 
think  the  same,  and  others  who  are  of  some  rank  and  wish  to 
use  their  strength  '  "  (Egil's  Saga,  c.  3). 

"  Once  King  Hrolf  invited  his  brother-in-law  Hjorvard  to  a 
feast ;  while  Hjorvard  stayed  at  the  feast  it  happened  when 
the  kings  were  outside  that  King  Hrolf  untied  his  breeches  belt 
and  meanwhile  gave  his  sword  to  King  Hjorvard  ;  when  King 
Hrolf  had  again  fastened  the  belt  he  took  back  the  sword,  and 
said  to  King  Hjorvard  :  '  We  both  know  that  it  has  long  been 
said,  that  he  who  receives  the  sword  of  another  man  while  he 
unties  his  breeches  belt,  shall  ever  after  be  his  wider-man  ;  now 
thou  shalt  be  my  under-king,  and  bear  it  as  well  as  others.' 
Hjorvard  became  exceedingly  angry  at  this,  but  had  to  sub- 
mit. He  went  home  dissatisfied,  nevertheless  he  paid  tax  to 

1  This  custom  of  becoming  an  under-man  is  illustrated  in  several  Sagas. 


King  Hrolf  like  others  of  his  under-kings  who  had  to  pay  him 
homage  "  (Hrolf  Kraki's  Saga,  c.  23). 

But  there  were  men  to  whom  the  name  of  king  was  given 
who  had  neither  land  nor  power,  and  finally  it  came  to  imply 
a  leader  who  ruled  over  warriors,  and  who  was  called  host- 
king,  in  the  same  way  that  the  commander  of  a  ship  was  called 
a  sea-king.  The  latter  sometimes  possessed  no  land,  and  they 
were  only  leaders  of  smaller  or  larger  parties  of  Vikings.1  As 
soon  as  a  king's  son  or  some  other  prominent  man  had 
acquired  a  number  of  war-ships,  he  was  at  once  called  king  by 
his  companions.  These  men  roamed  wherever  they  pleased, 
plundering  every  man's  land  ;  their  estate  was  upon  "  Ban's 
land  ):  -the  sea ;  their  ships  were  their  houses.  Their  acts 
of  daring  must  have  been  numerous  indeed,  and  the  following 
passage  gives  a  vivid  idea  of  a  sea-king  :— 

"Eystein  the  son  of  Adils  ruled  Sviaveldi  after  his  father; 
at  that  time  Hrolf  Kraki  fell  at  Hleidra,  and  kings  plundered 
much  in  the  Swedish  realm,  both  Danes  and  Northmen.  There 
were  many  sea-kings  who  ruled  over  many  men,  and  had  no 
land.  He  only  was  thought  to  fully  deserve  the  name  of  sea-king, 
who  never  slept  under  a  sooty  rafter  and  never  drank  at  the 
hearth-corner  (fire-place)  "  (Ynglinga  Saga,  c.  34). 

"  As  soon  as  Olaf  got  men  and  ships,  his  warriors  gave  him 
the  name  of  king,  for  it  was  the  custom  that  host  kings,  who 
went  on  Viking  expeditions,  if  they  were  king-born,  should  be 
given  the  name  of  king,  although  they  ruled  over  no  lauds  " 
(St.  Olaf's  Saga,  c.  4). 

Many  of  the  valorous  deeds  of  the  sea-kings,  whose  names 
are  only  mentioned,  are  lost  to  us,  but  this  confirms  how  much 
of  the  history  of  the  famous  men  of  the  North  has  been  lost. 

It  was  the  custom  for  the  head  kings  to  receive  taxes  from 
tributary  or  tax-kings. 

"Now  Kniit  the  Powerful  had  won  England  by  battles  and 
fights,  and  he  met  with  much  difficulty  before  the  people  of 
the  land  became  obedient  to  him.  He  considered  himself  as 
possessing  all  Norway  as  an  inheritance ;  but  Hakon,  his 
nephew,  thought  he  owned  part  of  it,  and  that  he  had  been 
forced  to  leave  it  in  a  shameful  manner.  One  reason  thai 

1  The  word  Viking  has,  of  course,  nothing  to  do  with  king. 

2  K  2 


Kniit  and  Hakon  had  kept  quiet  over  their  claim  on  Norway 
was,  that  when  first  King  Olaf  Haraldsson  came  into  the  land, 
the  whole  people  gathered  together  and  would  hear  of  nothing 
but  that  he  should  be  king  of  the  whole  country  ;  but  after- 
wards, when  they  thought  they  were  oppressed  on  account  of 
his  overbearing,  some  left  the  country.  Many  eminent  men 
and  sons  of  powerful  boendr  had  gone  to  Kniit  on  various 
errands  ;  and  each  one  who  came  to  Kniit  asked  his  friendship, 
and  obtained  much  property.  There  was  also  greater  splen- 
dour to  be  seen  there  than  in  other  places,  both  on  account  of 
the  number  of  men  which  were  daily  there,  and  of  the  furnish- 
ing of  the  rooms  which  he  possessed.  Kniit  the  Powerful  took 
taxes  and  dues  from  those  countries  of  the  northern  lands 
which  were  richest,  but  as  he  received  more  than  other  kings, 
he  also  gave  away  more.  Tn  all  his  realm  there  was  such 
peace  that  no  one  dared  break  it ;  the  inhabitants  themselves 
had  peace  and  ancient  land-rights.  From  this  Kniit  won 
great  renown  in  all  lands  "  (St.  Olaf's  Saga,  139). 

A  king  could  give  to  a  friend  the  title  of  king  without  the 
power  of  one. 

"  King  Hring  said  :  '  I  would  not  give  her  to  thee  unless  it 
were  that  I  am  sick,  and  I  like  thee  to  have  her  rather  than 
others,  for  thou  art  the  foremost  of  all  men  in  Norway  ;  I  will 
also  give  thee  the  name  of  king,  for  her  brothers  will  not  give 
either  her  or  the  honour  away  to  thee  like  I  do.'  Fridthjof 
answered :  '  I  thank  you  much,  lord,  for  your  favour,  which 
is  greater  than  I  expected,  but  I  do  not  want  more  than  a 
jarl's  name  as  a  title.' l  Hring  gave  Fridthjof  power  over  the 
realm  he  had  ruled  with  hand- fasten  ing  (joining  of  hands) 
and  jarl's  name.  He  was  to  rule  until  the  sons  of  Hring  were 
full-grown  and  could  rule  the  land  "  (Fridthjof  s  Saga,  c.  14). 

"  Then  Heidrek  went  about  the  land,  and  made  it  tributary 
to  King  Harald  of  Keidgotaland  as  it  had  formerly  been,  and 
then  returned  to  the  king.  He  had  won  very  large  treasures 
and  a  great  victory.  Harald  welcomed  him  and  thanked  him 
with  many  fine  words.  A  wedding-feast  was  prepared,  and 
Heidrek  married  the  daughter  of  the  king,  who  celebrated  it 
with  great  honour ;  he  gave  to  Heidrek  the  name  of  king  and 
half  of  his  kingdom ;  he  ruled  Reidgotaland  long  after  this, 
and  was  thought  wise  and  victorious ;  he  had  a  son  by  his 
wife  called  Angantyr.  King  Harald  also  in  his  old  age  begot 
a  son  called  Halfdan  ;  they  were  both  most  promising,  and 

1  Nafnb6t=  addition  to  the  name,  improvement  of  the  name. 



were  thought  far  above  other  men  in  Reidgotaland  "  (Hervarar 
Saga,  c.  10). 

No  king  could  rule  over  the  people  or  the  land  without  the 
consent  of  the  Thing.1 

"  Some  Fylkis-kings  summoned  a  Thing,  and  Olaf  made  a 
speech  wrherein  he  asked  the  boendr  to  take  him  for  king  over 
the  country,  and  promised  to  keep  to  the  old  laws  and  defend 
the  laud  against  foreign  chiefs  and  hosts ;  he  spoke  long  and 
well,  and  was  cheered.  Then  the  kings  rose  one  after  the 
other,  and  all  spoke  in  favour  of  this  to  the  people.  At  last 
the  name  of  king  over  the  whole  land  was  given  to  Olaf 
according  to  the  laws  of  Upplond  " 2  (St.  Olaf,  Heimskringla, 
c.  35). 

When  Olaf  had  made  a  long  speech  to  the  boendr— 

"  The  whole  crowd  of  people  arose  and  would  hear  of  nothing 
but  that  Olaf  Tryggvason  should  be  king;  and  so  he  was 
chosen  king  at  the  AUsherjarthing  (general  Thing)  over  all 
the  country  which  Harald  Fairhair  possessed,  and  the  rule  given 
to  him  according  to  ancient  laws.  The  boendr  promised  to 
give  him  many  men  in  order  to  get  the  realm,  and  afterwards 
to  hold  it ;  and  he,  on  the  other  hand,  promised  to  uphold  the 
laws  and  rights  of  the  land  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  1). 

If  a  king  attacked  a  man,  the  people  of  all  the  Fylkis  might 
gather  against  him  and  kill  him.  The  boendr,  as  soon  as  a 
king  or  jarl  had  encroached  upon  the  property  or  violated 
their  domestic  peace,  were  obliged  to  cut  up  heror  (host  arrow, 
war  arrow) — if  it  was  a  king  in  every  Fylki,  if  it  was  a  jarl  in 
four,  and  after  such  a  summons  to  gather  together,  attack,  and 
slay  or  drive  the  offender  away.  This  legal  enactment  was 
undoubtedly  of  very  ancient  origin. 

"  No  man  shall  attack  another  (with  armed  men),  neither 
the  king,  nor  any  other  man.  If  the  king  does  so,  an  arrow 
shall  be  cut  and  sent  inland  through  all  the  Fylkis,  and  he 
shall  be  attacked  and  slain  if  taken.  If  he  escapes  he  shall 
never  come  back  to  the  country.  Whoever  will  not  attack 
him,  or  drops  the  arrow,  shall  pay  three  marks "  (Earlier 
Frostathiug's  Law,  iv.,  50). 

1   In  the  Danish   laws   the  stipulation        ing). 

to  be  given  by  the  king  at  his  elevation  2  Cf.    also    Magnus    the    Good,    c.    22 

was  called  Haand-ftestning  (hand-fasten-       (Heimskringla). 



Slavery  among  the  Asar — Its  early  existence  in  the  North — Contempt  in 
which  the  slave  was  held — Nationalities  of  captives  in  war — Purchase  of 
slaves — Daughters  of  foreign  kings  taken  as  slaves — Slaves  considered 
chattels — Slaves  could  buy  their  freedom — Ceremonies  attending  the 
attainment  of  freedom — Relations  between  the  freed  slave  and  his  former 
master — freedom  obtained  through  bravery  in  war — Masters  empowered 
to  kill  slaves — Positions  of  trust  given  to  slaves — Indemnity  payable  to 
masters  for  injury  to  slaves — Laws  relating  to  slaves'  children — Price  of 
slaves — Laws  of  purchase. 

SLAVERY  flourished  with,  the  Asar  on  the  shores  of  the  Black 
Sea,  and  their  slaves  seem  to  have  been  of  foreign  birth,  as  we 
see  from  the  words  of  Skirnir,  when  he  comes  to  ask  Gerd  in 
marriage  for  his  master  Frey.  He  thus  speaks  of  himself:— 

I  am  not  of  Alfar,  Though  alone  I  came 

Nor  of  Asa-sons,  Through  the  wavering  fire 

Nor  of  the  wise  Vanir  :  Your  halls  to  behold. 

(Skirnismal,  18.) 

Slaverv  existed  in  the  North  from  the  earliest  time,  and 


was  probably  introduced  by  the  followers  of  Odin. 

Among  thrall  men,  the  thjon  and  bryti  (steward)  were  the 
most  prominent,  and  among  the  thrall  women  the  seta  and 
deigja,  the  latter  being  a  kind  of  housekeeper  or  forewoman. 

"  Two  are  the  best  bond-women  of  a  man,  seta  and  deigja, 
and  two  thralls,  thjon  and  bryti "  (Earlier  Gulathing's  Law, 

Though  serfdom,  a  modified  form  of  slavery,  existed  after- 
wards in  other  parts  of  Europe,  the  land  of  the  Swedes,  Gautar, 
and  Norwegians  was  never  degraded  by  it ;  but,  alas,  it 

1  Thrall  was  a  male  slave  ;  ambatt,  a  female  slave. 

S  OF  SLAVIC.  503 

took  root  in  Denmark,  and  showed  there  to  what  a  miserable 
condition  a  free  people  can  be  gradually  brought  by  not 
watching  over  their  liberties. 

There  are  in  the  Sagas  numerous  examples  showing  the  con- 
tempt in  which  the  thrall  was  held  ;  his  mark  was  closely 
cropped  hair,  and  his  dress  was  of  white  vadmal,  to  distinguish 
him  from  the  free  man. 

"  Thrand  said  he  had  two  young  thralls  to  sell  him.  liafii 
answered  that  he  would  not  buy  them  before  he  saw  them. 
Thrand  led  forward  the  two  boys  ;  their  hair  was  cropped,  and 
they  were  in  white  coats  (kulf)  "  (Flateyjarbok,  i.). 

"  Almstein  thrall  had  many  children.  '  Now  I  think  it  is 
thy  kin,  Ulf,  as  Almstein  was  thy  grandfather,  but  I  am 
Halfdan's  grandson  ;  thy  family  has  got  hold  of  the  king's 
property,  as  can  be  seen,  by  ale-service  and  other  outfittings. 
Now  take  here  the  white  kirtle  which  my  grandfather  Half- 
dan  gave  thy  grandfather  Almstein,  and  therewith  take  thy 
family  name,  and  be  a  thrall  henceforth  ;  for  it  was  decided  at 
the  Thing,  when  Halfdan  got  a  king's  name,  that  thy  grand- 
father should  wear  the  kirtle,  and  the  mother  of  his  children 
came  to  the  Thing,  and  all  his  children  put  on  clothes  of 
the  same  kind,  and  all  their  offspring  had  to  do  the  same.' 
Harald  had  a  white  kirtle  carried  before  the  eyes  of  Ulf,  and 

sang  :  — 

Knowest  thou  this  kirtle  ?  A  pig  and  a  fattened  goose 

Thou  hast  to  pay  the  Skjoldung  a  cow,      Thou  hast  to  pay  the  Skjolduug  ; 
And  a  full-grown  ox  Children  and  all  which  thou  earnest 

Thou  hast  to  pay  the  Skjoldung  ;  Thou  hast  to  pay  the  Skjoldung." 

(Fornmanna  Sogur  vi.,  Harald  Hardradi.) 

Captives  in  war  formed  the  chief  supply  of  slaves,  who 
consequently  came  from  many  different  countries  whither 
expeditions  were  made,  as  Hunaland,  Friesland,  Valland 
(France),  Britain,  Ireland,  Scotland,  Spain,  and  other  countries 
on  the  shores  of  the  Mediterranean. 

"  When  Egil  went  to  Iceland  from  a  journey  to  England, 
Norway,  and  Yermaland,  the  district  (south-western  part 
of  Iceland)  was  all  settled  ;  the  first  settlers  were  dead,  but 
their  sons  or  grandsons  dwelt  there.  Ketil  Gufa  had  come  to 
Iceland  when  the  land  was  much  settled  ;  he  was  the  first 
winter  at  Gufuskalar  in  Eosrnhvalanes  ;  he  had  come  from 
Ireland  across  the  sea,  and  had  many  Irish  thralls  with  him  '; 
(Egil's  Saga,  c.  SO). 


"  Leif  (Ingolf's  foster-brother)  went  on  warfare  in  the  west ; 
he  made  war  in  Ireland,  and  there  found  a  large  underground 
house ;  he  went  into  it,  and  it  was  dark,  until  a  sword  which  a 
man  wore  made  it  light.  Leif  slew  him  and  took  the  sword 
and  much  property ;  then  he  was  called  Hjorleif  (Sword- 
Leif).  Hjorleif  made  war  widely  in  Ireland,  and  got  much 
booty  ;  he  took  there  ten  thralls,  Dufthak,  Geirrod,  Skjald- 
bjorn,  Haldor,  Drafdrit ;  the  others  are  not  named  "  (Landnama). 

Purchases  of  slaves  took  place  wherever  the  people  traded. 

"  Thangbrand  (a  priest)  bought  a  fair  Irish  maiden  ;  he 
went  home  to  Brimaborg  (Bremen)  with  Bishop  Albertus,  and 
took  the  maiden  with  him  "  (Fornmanna  Sogur,  i.,  81). 

"  It  happened  in  the  beginning  of  the  summer  that  King 
Hakon  the  good  went  with  a  ship-host  eastward  to  Brenneyjar 
to  make  peace  (renew  treaties)  on  behalf  of  his  country  accord- 
ing to  the  laws.  This  meeting  between  chiefs  (hofdingi)  1 
was  to  take  place  every  third  summer,  and  matters  on  winch 
the  kings  (of  Norway,  Denmark,  and  Sweden)  had  to  decide 
were  settled  there.  It  was  thought  a  pleasant  journey  to 
go  to  this  meeting,  for  men  came  there  from  almost  all 
lands  of  which  we  have  tidings.  Hoskuld  (an  Icelander) 
launched  his  ship ;  he  also  wanted  to  go  there,  for  he  had 
not  seen  the  king  during  the  winter,  and  a  fair  was  held 
there  at  the  same  time.  This  meeting  was  very  large ;  there 
was  a  great  deal  of  amusement,  drinking,  and  games,  and  all 
kinds  of  merriment.  Nothing  remarkable  happened  there. 
Hoskuld  met  with  many  of  his  kinsmen  who  lived  in  Den- 
mark. One  day  when  Hoskuld  walked  with  some  others  to 
amuse  himself  he  saw  a  splendid  tent  far  from  the  other 
booths.  He  walked  there  and  entered  the  tent,  in  which 
sat  a  man  in  clothes  of  gudvef  (a  costly  stuff),  with  a  Gar- 
dariki  hat  on  his  head.  Hoskuld  asked  for  his  name.  He 
called  himself  Gilli,  from  Gardariki.  Hoskuld  said  he  had 
often  heard  his  name  mentioned,  and  that  he  was  the  richest 
of  all  traders.  Hoskuld  said  :  '  Thou  art  likely  to  have  things 
to  sell  us  which  we  want  to  buy.'  Gilli  asked  what  they 
wanted  to  buy.  The  followers  of  Hoskuld  said  that  he  wanted 
to  buy  a  bondmaid,  if  he  had  any  to  sell.  Gilli  said  :  '  You 
mean  to  get  me  into  difficulty,  when  you  demand  for  pur- 
chase things  which  you  think  I  have  not  got ;  but  it  is  not 
sure  that  I  have  them  not.'  Hoskuld  saw  that  there  was  a 
curtain  hanging  across  the  booth  ;  this  Gilli  lifted,  and  Hoskuld 

1  Here  chief  is  =  king.  This  meeting  of  kings  seems  like  the  meetings  in  our 
times  of  moiiarchs  fur  alliance  or  treaties. 


saw  twelve  women  sitting  inside.  Gilli  told  Hoskuld  to  go  to 
them  and  see  if  he  liked  to  buy  any  of  these  women.  Hoskuld 
did  so.  They  sat  all  together  from  wall  to  wall  in  tin-  booth. 
Hoskuld  looked  carefully  at  them  ;  he  saw  that  one  poorly 
dressed  sat  next  to  the  edge  of  the  tent ;  he  thought  she  \v;is 
beautiful  of  face  as  far  as  he  could  see.  He  asked  :  '  How  dear 
will  that  woman  be,  if  I  want  to  buy  her  ?  '  Gilli  said  :  '  Thou 
must  pay  for  her  three  marks  of  silver.'  Hoskuld  said :  '  1 
think  thou  vainest  this  bondmaid  rather  high,  for  this  is  the 
price  of  three.'  Gilli  said  :  '  Thou  art  right ;  I  value  her  higher 
than  the  others  ;  choose  any  of  those  eleven,  and  pay  for  her  a 
mark  of  silver,  and  let  this  one  be  my  property.'  Hoskuld 
said :  '  First  I  will  see  how  much  silver  there  is  in  my  money- 
bag (sjod),  which  I  have  at  my  belt.'  He  asked  Gilli  to  take 
the  scales.  Then  Gilli  said  :  '  This  matter  shall  be  without 
guile  from  my  side ;  the  woman  had  a  great  defect,  and  I  want 
thee  to  know  it,  Hoskuld,  before  we  make  this  bargain.' 
Hoskuld  asked  w?hat  it  was.  Gilli  said :  '  She  is  dumb ;  I 
have  tried  to  get  her  to  talk  in  many  ways,  but  I  have  never 
got  a  word  from  her ;  it  is  certainly  my  belief  that  this  woman 
cannot  speak.'  Then  Hoskuld  said  :  '  Come  with  the  scales 
and  let  us  see  how  much  the  money-bag  which  I  have  here 
weighs.'  Gilli  did  so ;  he  weighed  the  silver,  and  it  was  three 
marks.  Then  Hoskuld  said  :  '  Now  it  has  happened  that  this 
will  be  our  bargain  ;  take  thou  this  silver,  and  I  will  take 
this  woman ;  I  think  that  thou  hast  shown  thyself  generous 
in  this  matter,  for  surely  thou  didst  not  want  to  cheat  me.' 
Then  Hoskuld  went  home  to  his  booth.  Next  morning  when 
people  dressed  Hoskuld  said  :  '  Little  liberality  is  seen  on  the 
dress  which  Gilli  the  Wealthy  has  given  to  thee  ;  it  is  also  true 
that  it  was  more  difficult  for  him  to  dress  twelve  than  it  is  to 
dress  one.'  Hoskuld  then  opened  a  chest  and  took  up  a  line 
woman's  dress  and  gave  it  her;  and  all  people  said  that  fine 
clothes  suited  her.  When  the  chiefs  had  settled  matters 
according  to  law,  the  feast  and  the  meeting  ended.  Then 
Hoskuld  went  to  find  King  Hakon,  and  greeted  him  honour- 
ably, as  was  fit.  The  King  looked  at  him  and  said  :  '  We 
should  have  accepted  thy  greeting,  Hoskuld,  even  hadst  thou 
greeted  us  a  little  earlier ;  but  still  we  will  do  it  now.' 

"  It  occurred  one  morning  when  Hoskuld  went  out  to  look 
over  his  farm  (boar),  and  the  weather  was  fine,  and  the  sun 
shone  and  was  low  above  the  horizon,  that  he  heard  some 
talking ;  he  went  to  where  a  brook  flowed  in  front  of  the  slope 
of  the  tun  (grass-plot).  He  there  saw  two  people,  and  recog- 
nised them ;  it  was  his  son  Olaf  and  his  mother  (the  bond- 
woman);  then  he  saw  that  she  was  not  dumb,  for  she  talked 


much  to  the  boy.  Then  Hoskuld  went  to  them  and  asked 
for  her  name,  and  told  her  it  would  not  do  to  conceal  it  longer. 
She  said  she  would  not.  They  sat  down  on  the  slope ;  then 
she  said  :  '  If  thou  wantest  to  know  my  name,  it  is  Melkorka.' 
Hoskuld  asked  her  to  tell  more  about  her  kin.  She  said: 
'  My  father  is  named  Myrkjartan ;  he  is  king  in  Ireland,  and 
I  was  taken  captive  thence  fifteen  winters  old.'  Hoskuld  said 
she  had  too  long  been  silent  about  such  good  kin.  Then 
Hoskuld  went  in  and  told  Jorun  (his  wife)  about  what  had 
happened  on  his  walk.  Jorun  said  she  knew  not  whether 
she  told  the  truth,  and  that  she  did  not  like  uncouth  people, 
and  then  they  left  off  speaking ;  Jorun  was  not  friendlier  to 
her  than  before,  but  Hoskuld  somewhat  more.  A  little  later, 
when  Jorun  went  to  bed,  Melkorka  pulled  off  her  shoe-clothes 
(skoklaxli  =  shoes  and  stockings)  and  laid  them  on  the  floor. 
Jorun  took  the  stockings  and  struck  her  head  with  them. 
Melkorka  got  angry  and  struck  Jorun's  nose  with  her  fist  so 
that  blood  spurted  out.  Hoskuld  came  and  parted  them. 
Thereafter  Hoskuld  let  Melkorka  go  away,  and  gave  her  a 
boar  in  Laxardal ;  it  has  since  been  called  Melkorkustadir, 
and  is  now  waste ;  it  is  south  of  the  Laxa  (a  river).  Melkorka 
had  a  household  there,  to  which  Hoskuld  gave  all  that  was 
needed,  and  Olaf  their  son  went  with  her  ;  it  was  soon  seen 
in  Olaf,  when  he  grew  up,  that  he  would  surpass  other  men 
in  beauty  and  good  manners"  (Laxdsela,  c.  12,  13). 

"  Astrid,  Olaf  Tryggvason's  mother,  went  with  her  son,  who 
was  then  three  winters  old,  on  board  a  trading-ship  bound  to 
Gardariki ;  her  brother  Sigurd  was  with  King  Valdimar  there. 

"  On  their  voyage  eastward  Vikings  met  them ;  they  were 
Eistr  (Esthonians) ;  they  took  the  property  and  the  people 
and  killed  some  of  them,  while  they  divided  the  others  among 
themselves  as  slaves.  Olaf  was  parted  from  his  mother,  and 
Klerkon,  an  Esthonian,  took  him  and  Thorolf  and  Thorgils 
(two  of  Astrid's  followers).  Klerkon  thought  Thorolf  too  old 
for  a  thrall  and  unfit  for  work,  and  killed  him ;  but  took  the 
boys  with  him  and  sold  them  to  a  man  called  Klerk,  and  got 
for  them  a  very  good  he-goat.  Another  man  bought  Olaf  for  a 
good  rain-cloak ;  his  name  was  Eeas,  that  of  his  wife  Kekon,  of 
his  son,  Kekoni.  Olaf  stayed  there  long,  and  was  well  kept 
and  liked  by  the  bondi,  and  remained  six  winters  in  Eistland 
in  this  outlawry  "  (Olaf  Tryggvason,  c.  5). 

Lodin,  a  Norwegian  trader,  once  was  at  a  market  in  Eistland. 

"  There  he  saw  a  woman  who  had  been  sold  as  thrall,  and 
when  he  looked  at  her  he  recognised  in  her  Astrid,  Eirik's 


daughter,  the  widow  of  King  Tryggvi,  and  then  she  was 
unlike  what  she  had  been  the  last  time  he  saw  her.  She  was 
pale  and  lean,  and  badly  dressed.  He  went  to  her  and  asked 
how  it  was  with  her.  She  answered  :  '  Heavy  is  it  to  tell  that. 
I  have  been  sold  into  slavery  and  taken  hither  for  sale.'  Then 
they  knew  each  other,  and  Astrid  also  him.  She  asked  him 
to  buy  her  and  take  her  home  to  her  kinsmen.  'I  will,' 
answered  he,  'take  thee  to  Norway  if  thou  wilt  marry  inc.' 
And  because  she  was  then  hardly  situated,  and  knew  that 
Lodin  was  a  man  of  great  kin,  brave  and  wealthy,  she  promised 
him  this  to  get  away.  Then  Lodin  bought  Astrid  and  took 
her  home  to  Norway,  and  married  her  there  with  the  consent  of 
her  kinsmen  "  (Olaf  Tryggvason's  Saga,  Heimskringla,  c.  58). 

Sigurd,  Astrid's  brother,  came  to  Eistland  to  gather  taxes 
for  the  King  of  Holmgard. 

"  He  saw  on  a  market-place  a  very  fine  boy,  who  seemed  to 
him  a  foreigner,  and  asked  for  his  name  and  family.  He 
said  he  was  called  Olaf,  and  his  father  Tryggvi  Olafsson,  and 
his  mother  Astrid,  daughter  of  Eirik  Bjodaskalli.  Sigurd 
recognised  in  him  his  sister's  son,  and  asked  why  he  was  here. 
Olaf  told  him  what  had  happened.  Sigurd  took  him  to  Kens' 
bondi  and  bought  the  boys  Olaf  and  Thorgils,  and  took  them 
to  Holmgard  "  l  (Olaf  Tryggvason,  c.  6). 

"  One  day  Olaf  was  in  the  market-place,  which  was  crowded. 
There  he  recognised  Klerkon,  who  had  slain  his  foster-father 
Thorolf  Liisaskegg  ;  he  had  a  small  axe  in  his  hand,  and  went 
up  to  Klerkon  and  cut  his  head  down  to  the  brains.  There- 
upon he  at  once  ran  home  and  told  his  kinsman  Sigurd. 
Sigurd  took  him  to  the  room  of  Queen  Allogia  (Olga,  which  is 
a  corruption  of  the  Northern  name  Helga)  with  these  tidings, 
and  asked  her  to  help  the  boy.  She  looked  at  him,  and  said, 
'Such  a  handsome  boy  must  not  be  slain;'  and  ordered  all 
her  men  to  come  thither  fully  armed.  In  Holmgard  there  was 
such  gxe&tfridhelgi  (peace-holiness),  that  the  law  bade  that  any 
one  who  slew  another,  not  condemned,  should  himself  be  slain. 
Therefore  the  people  rushed  forward  according  to  their  custom 
and  laws  to  search  for  Olaf  and  take  his  life,  as  the  law  bad. 
It  was  said  that  he  was  in  the  queen's  house,  and  that  there 
was  a  fully  armed  host  to  defend  him.  When  the  king  heard 
this  he  quickly  went  thither  with  his  hird,  and  as  he  did  not 
want  them  to  fight,  first  procured  a  truce,  and  then  a  settle- 
ment, He  adjudged  a  fine  for  the  murder,  which  was  paid  by 

1  Cf.  also  lleim.skringla,  <,-.  58. 


the  queen.  It  was  the  law  in  Gardariki  that  there  should  be 
no  king-born  men  except  with  the  king's  permission.  There- 
fore Sigurd*  told  the  queen  of  what  family  Olaf  was,  and  also 
why  he  had  come  thither,  that  he  could  not  remain  in  his  own 
country  on  account  of  the  hostility  (and  persecution)  of  his 
enemies.  Sigurd  asked  her  to  tell  this  to  the  king,  and  beg 
him  to  help  this  king's  son,  who  had  been  so  ill-treated.  She 
did  so,  and  he  assented  to  her  request.  He  therefore  took 
Olaf  under  his  protection,  and  treated  him  well,  as  befitted 
a  king's  son.  Olaf  remained  in  Gardariki  nine  winters  (years) 
with  King  Valdimar.  He  was  handsome,  larger  and  stronger 
than  most  others,  and  in  idrottir  superior  to  all  other  Northern 
men  of  whom  the  Sagas  tell "  (Olaf  Tryggvason,  Fornnianna 
Sogur,  i.,  p.  81). 

Daughters  of  foreign  kings  and  other  beautiful  women  who 
were  often  prisoners  of  war  were  generally  made  concubines, 
and  called  kings'  thrall-women,  and  became  bones  of  conten- 
tion in  the  household  circle. 

"  Olaf,  King  of  Sweden,  son  of  Eirik,  had  a  concubine  Edla, 
a  daughter  of  the  Jar!  of  Vindland,  who  had  been  taken  in  war, 
and  was  therefore  called  the  king's  thrall-woman "  (St.  Olaf, 
c.  72). 

"  Ketil  Thryni,  a  settler  (in  Iceland),  went  abroad  and  was 
with  Vedorm,  the  son  of  Vemuncl  the  old.  He  bought  from 
Vedorm,  Arneid,  daughter  of  Jarl  Asbjorn  Skerjablesi,  whom 
Holmfast,  son  of  Vedorm,  had  captured  when  he  and  Grim, 
the  nephew  of  Vedorm,  killed  Asbjorn  Jarl  in  Sudreyjar 
(Hebrides).  Ketil  Thrym  bought  Arneid  two  parts  dearer